Sustainable forestry requires an efficient supply of forest tree seeds and seedlings.

Seedling production and forest sowing continuously need high-quality seed materials suitable for the area to be sown in terms of their origin. Seed material used in artificial forest regeneration is either seeds collected from forest stands or bred seed-orchard seeds. For some tree species, the use of bred seed materials instead of stand seeds can increase the volume of the trees.

The research on forest tree seed and seedling materials carried out by the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) aims to provide answers to issues identified in practical operations related to seed supply and seedling production by applying basic research done in different scientific fields, particularly in the fields of plant ecology and physiology.

Important research themes relate to, for example, the ripening of seeds, storage of pine cones, and seed extraction and cleaning techniques. The main research themes concerning seedling production concern the cost-efficiency of the production chain, year-round production of seedlings for the purposes of mechanical planting, and greenhouse technology, particularly the use of LEDs in the regulation of the growth and development of forest trees.

Another important function of Luke’s seed laboratory and research nursery for forest tree seedlings is to find practical applications for the generated research data. Investments in seed supply and seedling production will pay off: in artificially regenerated forests, trees grow faster and their quality is better.

Picture on top of the page: Katri Himanen, Luke