University of Oulu

Sonja Hurskainen, Anne Jäkäläniemi, Satu Ramula, Juha Tuomi, Tree removal as a management strategy for the lady’s slipper orchid, a flagship species for herb-rich forest conservation, In Forest Ecology and Management, Volume 406, 2017, Pages 12-18, ISSN 0378-1127,

Tree removal as a management strategy for the lady’s slipper orchid, a flagship species for herb-rich forest conservation

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Author: Hurskainen, Sonja1; Jäkäläniemi, Anne1; Ramula, Satu2;
Organizations: 1Department of Ecology and Genetics, University of Oulu, Pentti Kaiteran katu 1, 90014 Oulu, Finland
2Section of Ecology, Department of Biology, University Turku, 20014 Turku, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2017
Publish Date: 2019-11-03


In boreal herb-rich forests, the dominance of Norway spruce (Picea abies) decreases light availability for understory species, many of which depend on canopy gaps for reproduction. Here, we explored the response of a rare clonal understory herb, the lady’s slipper orchid (Cypripedium calceolus), to tree removal. We used demographic data spanning 16 years from ten unharvested control sites and ten harvest sites which were divided into three treatments with differing harvest intensity: (1) dense spruce forests, where half of the total tree basal area (TBA) was cut, (2) sparse spruce forests, where one-fourth of the spruce TBA was cut and (3) sparse broadleaf forests, where one-fourth of the total TBA was cut. The effects of harvesting on different demographic rates (ramet density, reproduction, survival, and dormancy) were studied with generalized linear mixed models with harvest intensity, time since harvest and the starting level of the response variable as explanatory variables. Tree removal sites had 2.2 times higher orchid ramet density, 2.4 times higher odds of survival, and 2.1–3.1 times higher odds of flowering and fruiting than the control sites, but these effects were not seen at all treatment levels at all times. Tree removal had no effect on dormancy or seedling or flower density. Orchid flowering and fruiting probabilities increased only at the most intensively harvested sites (both spruce forest sites, and dense spruce forest with 50% TBA removal, respectively), while survival and ramet density increased at the moderately harvested broadleaf forest sites. The effects on flowering and fruiting probabilities and survival disappeared quickly (after three years) when the canopy gaps closed, whereas ramet density responded only with a lag of over three years and was maintained to the end of the study. Our results thus demonstrate that for the lady’s slipper orchid, selective tree harvest might be a suitable management method that increases population size at the ramet level.

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Series: Forest ecology and management
ISSN: 0378-1127
ISSN-E: 1872-7042
ISSN-L: 0378-1127
Volume: 406
Pages: 12 - 18
DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2017.09.056
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Funding: This work was supported by the European Union Life funding, Metsähallitus, University of Oulu, the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation (SH) and the Academy of Finland (grant 285746 to SR).
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 285746
Detailed Information: 285746 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2017 Elsevier B.V. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license