As part of its cooperation with BirdLife Medelpad, SCA has conducted nature conservation harvesting to create deciduous forests in western Medelpad. The measures will benefit birds that thrive in light, sunny deciduous forests.

The harvesting took place in the late autumn of 2020 and the area, which is located between Navarn and Holmsjön in western Medelpad, consists of broadleaf-dominated mixed forests, where the trees are on average about 100 years old. The entire area is approximately 55 hectares, of which 35 hectares has been harvested and 20 hectares left untouched.

“We harvested about 35 hectares in an area that are a broad-leaved succession, but where spruce trees were about to take over. A broad-leaved succession is a forest compartment that has developed naturally following a forest fire and therefore has a higher proportion of deciduous trees compared with the surrounding coniferous forest. This area contains plenty of birch and aspen, and a few sallows,” explains Emelie Westin, nature conservation expert at SCA.

SCA has mainly removed spruce trees, except in areas with good conservation values linked to spruce or deciduous trees in shadowy sites, which were therefore left untouched. SCA also saved all pine trees. Moreover, some of the pine trees were strip-barked to accelerate aging and in this way enhance the recreation of old trees and eventually valuable dead wood. In some place, trees have been knocked down to create gaps containing sun-lit deciduous trees.

More sun and light

When spruce trees are removed, deciduous trees have an opportunity to grow, and the forest becomes lighter and sunnier.

“An increase in the share of deciduous trees in coniferous forests helps to promote biodiversity. We hope our measures will eventually change the bird fauna in the area,” says Emelie and continues:

“Deciduous trees have now been given a chance to develop and thick trees will grow here with time. There will also be a natural regeneration of new deciduous trees resulting in a forest containing trees of various ages. The area was ravaged by hurricanes Dagmar and Ivar, which means there is a great deal of dead wood here that also benefits biodiversity.”

Important for birdlife

This type of deciduous forest is an important habitat for many birds, according to BirdLife Medelpad.

“We are happy to see the recreation of areas with deciduous trees that will provide a good living space for birds that thrive in these biotopes. The bird inventories we conducted in the area in spring 2019 and 2020 identified 90 different individuals from 26 species. These included willow warblers, kinglets, Eurasian wrens, chaffinches and chiffchaffs,” says Bengt Allberg at BirdLife Medelpad.

“Vi hope and believe SCA’s measures benefit bird species that thrive in forest dominated by deciduous trees,” says Peter Berglund at BirdLife Medelpad. The potential exists for both more species and more individuals, mainly insectivorous small birds and woodpeckers. We expect to see more songbirds from the Sylviidae family, such as the Eurasian blackcap, garden warbler and lesser whitethroat as well as the European pied flycatcher. The lesser spotted woodpecker and red-backed shrike are other species in a downward trend that we would be pleased to find here in the future. It is also likely that wood warblers, dunnocks and bramblings will appear.

New bird inventory

BirdLife Medelpad will conduct a new bird inventory in the area in 2021.

“We hope to continue to conduct inventories in the area after 5 to 10 years as the changes will become more tangible in the longer term,” says Peter.

“We look forward to this year’s inventory to get an indication of whether our measures have made a difference,” says Emelie. And new inventories in the future would be a good idea in order to follow the area over an extended period. We also hope to carry out an insect inventory in 2022 to see which species thrive in the deciduous forest and with the conservation values found here.”

Photo: Emelie Westin

Published 2/1/2021