The objective of the tending of seedling stands, which covers the early treatment, cleaning and thinning of the seedling stand, is to achieve the best possible return on investments made in the regeneration stage.

The purpose of the early treatment and cleaning of seedling stands is to ensure that seedlings of the selected tree species have the required room and resources to grow when the competition from ground vegetation and other tree species is reduced. Later, as the seedling stand matures, it is thinned so that the economically most valuable tree species and best-quality stems are mainly left to grow on the stand.

The Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) carries out research on the optimal timing of the tending of seedling stands on forest stands regenerated in different ways and located in different types of habitats. The aim is to identify which types of sites need to be cleaned and thinned only once and which need more than one round of tending. Furthermore, the aim is also to be able to predict the optimal timing for different measures on the basis of, for example, topographic wetness indexes and other big data.

The costs of the tending of seedling stands have increased over the last two decades clearly faster compared to the costs of other silvicultural operations.  The timely and high-quality management of young stands can also help to enhance the profitability of seedling stand management services and to significantly increase the total area of managed seedling stands without increasing the overall resources. Luke also collaborates with the operators in the field in research and development projects aimed to create new operating models and tools to improve seedling stand management services.

Picture on top of the page: Erkki Oksanen, Luke