SCA is setting aside trial sites in the Sörgraninge conservation park for continuous cover forestry (CCF). The trial sites are part of a collaboration between SCA and the Swedish Forest Agency and will be used for training and follow-up to provide more knowledge of CCF methods.

Continuous cover forestry is a method of harvesting that seeks to avoid clearfelling. SCA applies continuous cover forestry (CCF) methods on some of its forest land where there are special reasons for not carrying out regular harvesting operations.  One example is sites that require alternative interventions in order to preserve environmental or cultural heritage values, or to promote recreation and reindeer husbandry.

CCF methods includes group selection, where groups of trees are harvested to create gaps for new forest stands, or making shelters of trees where larger trees are retained to promote regeneration.

“Another method is selection system. This means that trees of varying species and ages are always retained when harvesting,” says Askia Sandberg, SCA’s nature conservation expert in Ångermanland.

Find more trial sites

The Swedish Forest Agency has already increased CCF trials on its properties in Västerhångsta in Ånge, Västernorrland, and Halåsen in Jämtland, but would like more trial sites in more places.

“When we received a request from the Swedish Forest Agency for collaboration and to identify trial sites on our land, we never hesitated. And our conservation park in Sörgraninge is ideal. One of the aims of our parks is to carry out trials and test different approaches. And in Sörgraninge, we have already begun to test a number of CCF methods,” says Askia.

“According to the new Swedish FSC standard, the proportion of CCF should be increased. SCA is already meeting these new requirements, but it’s important that these efforts continue. And then we need to build more knowledge about the various methods so that we can be sure we are doing the right thing, in the right way, on the right site,” says Askia.

Some methods tested

On a forest excursion at the end of May, Askia and Daniel Andersson (from the Swedish Forest Agency) looked at various areas in Sörgraninge that would be suitable for trial sites.

“We looked at six sites in the park,” says Askia. “These are sites where we have already applied CCF methods as well as sites that have been set aside for interventions. The Swedish Forest Agency appreciates our interventions, because the results are already evident and we don’t need to start from the beginning. These include sites where seed trees have been retained and groups of deciduous trees have been removed. We also have one site that would be suitable for single-tree selection moving forward, and another site for group selection and cutting to create travel corridors. Then the Swedish Forest Agency can be involved and make sure we are doing everything right in terms of planning and implementation.”

On some land, CCF methods are particularly effective for natural regeneration and for effective management.

“Retaining a shelter of birch on wet woodland, for example, will keep the water level from rising as high as it would if all trees were removed. One single large birch can drink several hundred liters of water on a sunny day. That means that deciduous trees help to reduce groundwater, which is good for forest regeneration,” says Askia.

Conduct training

The selected trial sites will be monitored for several years to see how the forest develops, and all sites will be carefully documented.

“We want to see what methods give the best results and are most effective for regeneration. Our trial sites will give us more knowledge about the best methods for different types of sites”, says Askia.

It will also be possible to use the trial sites for training, for example, for private forest owner, forest workers and contractors.

“The idea is that we will be able to travel around and visit all of the sites where we have applied various methods and discuss CCF,” says Askia.

Welcomes the collaboration

The Swedish Forest Agency welcomes the collaboration with SCA.

“The conservation park is a very nice area with ideal objects adjacent to roads, making them easily accessible to groups of visitors. I am looking forward to this collaboration, because the ability to demonstrate how CCF can be a viable alternative in sensitive areas is important,” says Daniel Andersson, forestry consultant at the Swedish Forest Agency. SCA has several ideal objects, and has already applied CCF methods on some of these that we will be able to follow-up in about 15-20 years. We are also planning interventions on other sites. It will be interesting and exciting to follow these developments.

Top picture, picture 1: Shelter of trees with stand of seed trees. The area was harvested in 2000.
Picture 2: Shelter of deciduous trees in a swamp forest.
Picture 3: Spruce forest with trees in varying ages makes it possible to use selection system.
Picture 4: Spruce harvesting in a swamp forest with lots of deciduous trees. A shelter of trees are saved in order to not make the area so wet before planting new forest.

Photo: Askia Sandberg

Published 6/11/2020