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The legacy of logging-estimating arboreal lichen occurrence in a boreal multiple-use landscape on a two century scale
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
2011 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 6, no 12, e28779- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In northern Sweden, the availability of arboreal lichens (Bryoria fuscescens, Alectoria sarmentosa) as winter grazing resources is an important element in reindeer husbandry. With the industrialization of forestry, forests rich in arboreal lichens have diminished considerably. Here, we analyze how forestry has impacted lichen availability from the 1920's to the present day and model its future development assuming different forest management scenarios. We recorded the current occurrence of B. fuscescens in 144 sampling plots, stratified by forest age class and dominant tree species in a 26,600 ha boreal forest landscape that is used for both reindeer herding and forestry. Lichen abundance was visually estimated in four classes: none, sparse, moderate and abundant. A binary logistic model using forest age as the independent variable was developed to predict the probability of lichens being present. Using this model, we found that lichens were present in stands that are at least 63 years old. Because of the relative paucity of stands rich in arboreal lichens, it was not possible to reliably determine how age affects the variation in abundance of older forest stands. The historical development of forests where arboreal lichens could potentially occur was studied using historic forestry records dating back 80 years. Between 1926 and the present day, forestry has reduced the cover of forests older than 60 years from 84% to 34%. The likely future spatial coverage of these stands over the next 120 years was estimated for two different management scenarios and an unmanaged reference scenario, using the Heureka strategic planning program. Under both the "business as usual'' scenario and that involving more intensive forestry, continued decreases in lichen availability are projected. Our results emphasize the importance of alternative forestry practices, such as prolonged rotation periods, to increase the availability of arboreal lichens as a grazing resource for reindeer.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Public library of science , 2011. Vol. 6, no 12, e28779- p.
Keyword [en]
semi-domesticated reindeer; spruce-fir forest; epiphytic lichens; northern sweden; alectorioid lichens; canopy microclimate; mountain caribou; management; snow; biomass
National Category
Ecology Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-52037DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0028779ISI: 000298664400018OAI: diva2:493059
Available from: 2012-02-08 Created: 2012-02-08 Last updated: 2014-06-10Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Contested Landscapes: social-ecological interactions between forestry and reindeer husbandry
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Contested Landscapes: social-ecological interactions between forestry and reindeer husbandry
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Throughout northern Fennoscandia, reindeer husbandry is a central part in the cultural heritage of the Sámi people. In its history, Sámi culture and reindeer husbandry have undergone significant adaptations to environmental, social and political challenges. Landscape changes on the winter grazing grounds were mainly driven by resource exploitation, especially by industrialized forestry. Important grazing resources were lost, i.e. terrestrial and arboreal lichens that constitute essential key elements in the herding year.

In my thesis, I explore the consequences of these transformations in Swedish boreal forests for reindeer husbandry. The multi-disciplinary approach integrates interview studies, ecological fieldwork and theoretical modeling of forest development.

I emphasize the understanding of landscapes as multi-dimensional concepts with ecological, social and economic components. They interact in determining the amount of landscape fragmentation in physical or administrative ways, or in enabling reindeer herders to move between different landscape elements. These elements, e.g. forest stands of different ages, can react differently to winter weather. Thus, they enable reindeer herders to adjust their grazing grounds according to the availability of forage, mediated by snow conditions. However, forestry practices have reduced the abundance of old-growth forests, and therewith the functionality of the landscape. By comparing snow conditions in different forest types, I show that multi-layered canopies can offer a more diverse pattern of snow hardness. However, the interaction between forest characteristics with snow is strongly dependent on weather conditions, e.g. the timing and intensity of warm spells. The prevalence of single-layered forest stands therefore can lead to a reduction in snow variability and potentially restricts the availability of suitable grazing grounds for reindeer. If snow conditions hinder reindeer in foraging on terrestrial lichens, old forests formerly supplied reindeer with arboreal lichens. I show how industrial forestry has reduced the availability of this emergency forage by the reduction of old forests and increased landscape fragmentation and analyze the consequences of different management strategies on future habitat availability for arboreal lichens. By integrating these results into a model of forest management, I offer insights into consequences arising from different priorities that either favor timber production or the development of lichen-rich grazing grounds.

In conclusion, I emphasize the importance of landscape diversity, as well as the ability to make use of this diversity, as a source of adaptability of reindeer husbandry to changes in grazing conditions by e.g. winter weather dynamics. A shared future of reindeer husbandry and forestry could be fostered by encouraging the social-ecological co-evolution of multiple use landscapes and the enhancement of the cultural and biological significance of the Swedish boreal forests.


Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet, 2013. 35 p.
Reindeer husbandry, forestry, adaptive capacity, arboreal lichens, snow, winter pasture, natural resource management, multiple use, land-use conflict, habitat fragmentation
National Category
Ecology Environmental Sciences
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-66386 (URN)978-91-7459-535-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-03-22, KBC huset, Lilla Hörsalen (KB3A9), Umeå universitet, Umeå, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2013-03-01 Created: 2013-02-19 Last updated: 2013-02-20Bibliographically approved

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