Publications

NIBIOs employees contribute to several hundred scientific articles and research reports every year. You can browse or search in our collection which contains references and links to these publications as well as other research and dissemination activities. The collection is continously updated with new and historical material.

2022

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Abstract

Just as the aboveground tree organs represent the interface between trees and the atmosphere, roots act as the interface between trees and the soil. In this function, roots take-up water and nutrients, facilitate interactions with soil microflora, anchor trees, and also contribute to the gross primary production of forests. However, in comparison to aboveground plant organs, the biomass of roots is much more difficult to study. In this study, we analyzed 19 European datasets on above- and belowground biomass of juvenile trees of 14 species to identify generalizable estimators of root biomass based on tree sapling dimensions (e.g. height, diameter, aboveground biomass). Such estimations are essential growth and sequestration modelling. In addition, the intention was to study the effect of sapling dimension and light availability on biomass allocation to roots. All aboveground variables were significant predictors for root biomass. But, among aboveground predictors of root biomass plant height performed poorest. When comparing conifer and broadleaf species, the latter tended to have a higher root biomass at a given dimension. Also, with increasing size, the share of belowground biomass tended to increase for the sapling dimensions considered. In most species, there was a trend of increasing relative belowground biomass with increasing light availability. Finally, the height to diameter ratio (H/D) was negatively correlated to relative belowground biomass. This indicates that trees with a high H/D are not only more unstable owing to the unfavorable bending stress resistance, but also because they are comparatively less well anchored in the ground. Thus, single tree stability may be improved through increasing light availability to increase the share of belowground biomass.

Abstract

Management of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) in Norway requires a forest growth and yield model suitable for describing stand dynamics of even-aged forests under contemporary climatic conditions with and without the effects of silvicultural thinning. A system of equations forming such a stand-level growth and yield model fitted to long-term experimental data is presented here. The growth and yield model consists of component equations for (i) dominant height, (ii) stem density (number of stems per hectare), (iii) total basal area, (iv) and total stem volume fitted simultaneously using seemingly unrelated regression. The component equations for stem density, basal area, and volume include a thinning modifier to forecast stand dynamics in thinned stands. It was shown that thinning significantly increased basal area and volume growth while reducing competition related mortality. No significant effect of thinning was found on dominant height. Model examination by means of various fit statistics indicated no obvious bias and improvement in prediction accuracy in comparison to existing models in general. An application of the developed stand-level model comparing different management scenarios exhibited plausible long-term behavior and we propose this is therefore suitable for national deployment.

2021

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Abstract

This paper presents some of the ethical challenges that current care robots raise in home- and healthcare services for senior adults (≥65 years). The paper is grounded in some of the state-of-the-art projects within the area of care robotics.Further, the paper identifies and discusses several central challenges raised by using robots as part of care services for the elderly people. The paper contributes to the ethical debate on the implications care robots may have for the practical context of healthcare. In addition, the paper summarizes the main lines of the EU legal approach to AI robotic technology, offering a comprehensive picture of the existing regulatory, theoretical and research gaps, compelling the need of an interdisciplinary ethical reflection on care robots. Finally, the discussion is then balanced by some of the opportunities the care robots may provide for the care services.

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Abstract

Across North America, forests dominated by Quercus rubra L. (northern red oak), a moderately shade-tolerant tree species, are undergoing successional replacement by shade-tolerant competitors. Under closed canopies, Q. rubra seedlings are unable to compete with these shade-tolerant species and do not recruit to upper forest strata. In Europe, natural regeneration of introduced Q. rubra is often successful despite the absence of fire, which promotes regeneration in the native range. Considering that understorey light availability is a major factor affecting recruitment of seedlings, we hypothesized that Q. rubra seedlings are more shade tolerant in the introduced range than in the native range. Morphological traits and biomass allocation patterns of seedlings indicative of shade tolerance were compared for Q. rubra and three co-occurring native species in two closed-canopy forests in the native range (Ontario, Canada) and introduced range (Baden-Württemburg, Germany). In the native range, Q. rubra allocated a greater proportion of biomass to roots, while in the introduced range, growth and allocation patterns favored the development of leaves. Q. rubra seedlings had greater annual increases in height, diameter and biomass in the introduced range. Q. rubra seedlings in the introduced range were also younger; however, they had a mean area per leaf and a total leaf area per seedling that were five times greater than seedlings in the native range. Such differences in morphological traits and allocation patterns support the hypothesis that Q. rubra expresses greater shade tolerance in the introduced range, and that natural regeneration of Q. rubra is not as limited by shade as in the native range. The ability of Q. rubra seedlings to grow faster under closed canopies in Europe may explain the discrepancy in regeneration success of this species in native and introduced ranges. Future research should confirm findings of this study over a greater geographical range in native and introduced ecosystems, and examine the genetic and environmental bases of observed differences in plant traits.

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Abstract

We compiled data from several independent, long-term silvicultural studies on USDA Forest Service experimental forests across a latitudinal gradient in the northeastern and north-central U.S.A. to evaluate factors influencing aboveground live-tree carbon sequestration and mortality. Data represent five sites with more than 70,000 repeated tree records spanning eight decades, five ecoregions, and a range of stand conditions. We used these data to test the relative influence of factors such as climate, treatment history (uneven-aged or no management), species composition, and stand structural conditions on aboveground live-tree carbon sequestration and mortality in repeatedly measured trees. Relative to no management, we found that uneven-aged management tended to have a positive effect on carbon sequestration at low stocking levels and in areas of favorable climate (expressed as a combination of growing season precipitation and annual growing degree days > 5 ◦C). In addition, losses of carbon from the aboveground live-tree pool due to tree mortality were lower in managed than unmanaged stands. These findings suggest that there may be conditions at which rate of sequestration in living trees is higher in stands managed with uneven-aged silviculture than in unmanaged stands, and that this benefit is greatest where climate is favorable.

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Abstract

The maximum size-density relationship describes site carrying capacity, i.e., the maximum number of trees of a given size that can be stocked per unit area (self-thinning line). We analysed whether the self-thinning lines of Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) and Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) have remained unchanged over time in South Germany, Norway and Finland, i.e., over a wide climatic gradient from Central Europe up to the Arctic circle. The analyses are based on long-term growth and yield experiments measured on individual tree basis over several decades, the oldest experiments established during the early 20th century. The stochastic frontier analysis was used to analyse changes in the species-specific self-thinning lines. The results show that the self-thinning lines have shifted upwards over time in all the regions. Thus, currently stands sustain higher stand densities than in the past. The increase of the maximum density for a given average stem size was more pronounced for pine than for spruce, but similar in all studied geographical regions. In addition, increasing site index was associated with increasing site carrying capacity for spruce and pine in all regions. The results imply that environmental changes have altered site properties in similar fashion across the whole study region. In practical forestry, increased site carrying capacity will reduce mortality and loss of growing stock.

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Abstract

Transport cost calculations are fundamental for most types of transport research. Applications can range from estimating the cost benefits of developing transport technologies (e.g. increased truck GVWs) to comparing profitability between alternative infrastructure investments (e.g. rail or sea terminals). Most stakeholders rely on a favourite spreadsheet, however these vary considerably with respect to functionality, resolution and transparency. During 2019 and 2020 the NB Nord Road and Transport group has worked towards a common Nordic-Baltic costing framework for road, rail and sea transport. The goal has been to propose a general model per transport method which is user-friendly, while retaining the necessary resolution and functionality to model actual costs for specific transport orders or contracts. The handbook provides: a) complete explanation of its formulas, b) calculation examples and c) a corresponding Excel spreadsheet...

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Abstract

Since the beginning of the twentieth century, forest regeneration management and policy in the Nordic–Baltic region (Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) have gone through significant changes. For decades forest as a key natural resource was managed with main focus on timber production. However, several factors influenced shifting forest management, including forest regeneration to meet a wide range of society needs. This review study aims to reveal the historical development of forest regeneration identifying knowledge gaps and supporting decisions that promote sustainable regeneration of future forests. The development of forest regeneration management and policy in the Nordic–Baltic countries is analyzed through reforestation and afforestation practices as well as legislation aspects using a narrative review approach. Trends in forest regeneration practices within the region are identified and explored over a timeframe spanning from 1900 until today. Despite diverse forestry management structures and differing political, social situations, the study shows that forest regeneration development has followed similar patterns over time in all Nordic–Baltic region countries: extensive forestry, clear-cut forestry, retention forestry and currently evolving climate-adaptive forestry. Nevertheless, regional differences among the Nordic–Baltic countries, especially in forest regeneration-related legislation, were identified due to a mixture of international and local driving forces.