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FROM CASTLES TO CANOPIES: FOREST RESILIENCE IN SOUTHERN SWEDEN

POST congress tour to southern Sweden
Period: June 29 – July 4 (6 days/5 nights)

*Dates and schedules are subject to change.
**Trip confirmation requires a minimum of 20 participants.

This Division 7 (Forest Health) and Division 1 (Silviculture) thematic tour from Stockholm south will showcase the many ways in which forests are important to Sweden: as productive forests for the country’s forest sector – the world’s largest exporter of pulp, paper and sawn wood products combined, as key habitats for maintaining biodiversity and for citizens – for hunting, for picking berries and mushrooms, for recreation and contemplation.

Swedish forests are managed to provide multiple benefits, however these are often constrained by various harmful biotic agents (forest pests and pathogens, ungulates) and by the changing climate with extreme events such as drought, storms and fires. Participants will see and learn why and how we manage the forest as we do, how forestry affects the biodiversity, current and future challenges to this management, how long-term experiments, cutting-edge techniques and climate adaptation in practice are used to manage and prevent damage risks so that future forest production is secured, ensuring healthy forests for the future.

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Experiencing Sörmland

In the heart of Sörmland, only 50 minutes from Stockholm, you will find Öster Malma castle. With nature just around the corner, you as conference guests will become inspired in a relaxing and inviting atmosphere close to the wild. The old country seat Öster Malma, now with its castle and two wings, is beautifully located on the shores of Lake Malmasjön, in the lovely county of Sörmland. A guided tour at castle will revel the facts that influenced the Swedish culture.

During the guided tour at castle and an optional visit to Viltpark, the participants will learn about the history of this place – owned by the Swedish Hunters Association. Cultural aspects will be about traditional and modern-day hunting culture in Sweden. A magical barbecue evening will be held at castle.

Öster Malma
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Lunch tour on the S/S Boxholm II boat – one of Sweden’s oldest and last wood-fuelled steamboats. A lunch at Torpöns Färjeläge restaurant will follow the tour with nature and culture guiding of Lake Sommen.

Photo: Sveaskog
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Lake Vättern and Vadstena

Omberg Ecopark is Sweden’s most species-rich forest landscape, with many rare natural environments. The beautiful beech forest on the slope down to Lake Vättern, the giant oaks in the pasture landscape and the colorful meadows are some of them. Omberg has a fantastic view for new adventures.

Photo: Sveaskog
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Discovering and learning about the beautiful surroundings

A mile-long steep slope with natural forests also leaves a big mark on the landscape. You can enjoy the fantastic view from Hjässan – Omberg’s highest point – and walk among giant oaks and centuries-old firs or let yourself be captivated by the beautiful orchids found in Omberg’s many limestone marshes.
The Omberg is situated in Östergötland on the shore of Lake Vättern. This mountain is Sweden’s most species-rich forest landscape with many rare natural environments. The bold beech forest on the slope of Vättern, the giant oaks in the pasture landscape and the colourful mowing meadows are just three examples.
A mile-long steep bank characterizes the mountain to a large extent.

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Vadstena

Words cannot convey the aura of history that pervades throughout Vadstena. It is an exceptional place with a magical atmosphere. Abundant evidence of this takes the form of the many remarkably well-preserved medieval buildings in which one can almost step back in time. Not least among Vadstena’s other attractions is its proximity to Lake Vattern, which affords beaches and aquatic activities. A key factor in maintaining an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity and generating energy and movement in Vadstena is the pride and sense of custodianship that the residents have in the place that creates it. A place that, for centuries, people have turned to for recreation and inspiration. Vadstena has always been a place to marvel at, visit, return to, enjoy and stay in.

Vadstena klosterhotel
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Overnight in Vadstena Klosterhotel

Housed in a former monastery from the Middle Ages, this historic hotel is located on Lake Vättern in quaint Vadstena. Guests can relax with in the peaceful settings or at the on-site spa.

From luxurious parties to monastic life: King Magnus Eriksson and his wife Blanche had such incomparable parties in the palace in the 14th century that the courts in Europe spoke with envy of the luxury of the Swedish royal house.

Birgitta Birgersdotter (Saint Birgitta) was of the opposite nature. She converted the royal palace into a monastery of the Lord. Spartan monastic life centered around prayer and work. The morning prayer lasted four hours and warming bonfires in winter were strictly prohibited. During the Swedish wars against Russia and other major powers in Europe, Gustav II Adolf established a Krigsmanshus in the old monastery buildings. It was a nursing home for wounded and disabled soldiers and their families. Now it is an amazing hotel with many facilities.

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Vadstena castle

Guided tour in Vadstena castle, one of Sweden’s best-preserved castles from the era of Gustav Vasa in the 16th century.
When Gustav Vasa was elected Swedish Prime Minister at a meeting in Vadstena in August 1521, there was still no castle in Vadstena. Only at a meeting in Västerås in 1544 did the Riksdag decide that a national fortress should be built in Vadstena, and the following year (1545) Gustav Vasa began construction.

Photo: Sueciaverket
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Asa Herrgård
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Lake of Asa in Småland

Overnight and dinner at Asa Herrgård – a jewel with fantastic nature, located in a quiet zone at the lake.

Asa Herrgård dates back to the 17th century, is located in the heart of the quiet forest, 10 km east of Lammhult by the northern point of the 120 km long lake system, which makes Asa the perfect starting point for canoeing, fishing and hunting adventures!

The manor’s history stretches back to the Middle Ages and the farm has been in severalnoble families of possession. In the old days it was said Asa have the most beautiful forestsin the whole Småland and now is a good opportunity to experience the tranquility and Asa beautiful scenery along the paths and trails.

Asa is a modern hotel with a Sweden/Småland kitchen that uses organic and local products such as fish from Åsnen and crayfish from the lake of Asa. Here you can do activities like boat, canoes, cycles, fishing, crayfishing, hunting activities, sauna/jazuzzi and hiking trails.

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Eriksberg Hotel & Nature Reserve

Located in the Blekinge archipelago, Eriksberg Hotel & Nature Reserve offers a complete facility in the middle of nature, where the wild animals are part of the surroundings. This area is part of one of Northern Europe’s largest wildlife reserves. A charming place for those looking for other experiences than a typical hotel. You will overnight, have dinner and have a guided Safari on the animals’ terms at Eriksberg Hotel & Nature Reserve.

Guided Safari on the animals’ terms

With approximately 925 hectares, Eriksberg is the largest safari park in the Nordic countries. This reserve is located in the Blekinge archipelago. Here, Red deer, fallow deer, Père David’s deer, European bison, wild boar, and moufflon freely roam around in this unique nature reserve. During the summer, you can drive a safari tour in your own car and see the animals in this unique coastal landscape with lush deciduous forests. The safari tour, which is about ten kilometers long, is run either by your own car or as a pre-booked tour with one of our knowledgeable guides. Eriksberg also has a rich bird life and one of the world’s largest protected red water lily populations. If you’re lucky, you’ll see the sea eagle!

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Kiviks Hotel – Beautifully located above Kivik

Paradise in Kivik – spring and summer approaches
Nature gives us its spectacle when the lovely apple blossom takes off, the rays of the sun reflects the seas deep blue shades and people from unknown places enjoy the spectacular views and all Kivik has to offer.

At Easter the artists open up their studios and this is when the annual “konstrundan” takes place. always the same weekend as the Ascension is the time for another traditional round, with the food namely Matrundan! After a spectacular summer comes autumn colors and with them also all shades of a variety of apples that might attract a visit to the very special Apple Market last weekend in September. Österlen in winter is a delight to the eye and Christmas and New Year is celebrated with good local food, with an extra touch of luxury.

Paradise is found in Kivik… all year around.

Spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus L.), James Connell.
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Öster Malma

Agenda: bark beetle, root rot, ungulate browsing and other forest damage, Öster Malma-model
Öster Malma is a large forest estate and wildlife park managed by the Swedish Hunters’ Association. Hunting is a popular free time activity, deeply rooted in Swedish culture. On the other hand, browsing damage is a major factor limiting development and forest growth. Therefore, topic of hunting in Sweden is highly debated and still an unresolved issue.

Norway spruce (Picea abies) is one of the most commercially important tree species in Sweden, but about 25% of its stands are affected by root rot and butt rot, mainly caused by Heterobasidion spp. Another important damaging agent in spruce forests is the spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus L.). Sweden is in the midst of an unprecedented bark beetle outbreak which has caused record levels of mortality in spruce forests that, in just the last few years, exceeds what has occurred cumulatively over the previous 70 years. Climate change is expecting to have important consequences for the distribution, abundance, physiology, behaviour and ecology of all species. There is evidence that insect pests, including spruce bark beetle, have already responded to such changes via range shifts and changes in phenology. Disruption of those interactions on the plant-insect level can have significant effects on the future forest ecosystems.

Stem decay caused by Heterobasidion root rot in Norway spruce, Jonas Rönnberg
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Boxholms Skogar AB

Agenda: forest planning, precision thinning, thinning operations, mechanized stump treatment to control Heterobasidion root rot

Boxholms Skogar AB operates and manages approx. 36 000 ha of productive forest land in southwestern Östergötland. The rich traditions of the company’s activity date back to 1872. Boxholms Skogar AB passionately has a vision to manage their land in a sustainable way and combine both economic and ecological goals with help of historical experience and modern knowledge.

In Sweden, approximately 400 million hectares of forest land are thinned annually. Thinning operations are fully mechanized and protection against the root rot fungus (Heterobasidion annosum s. l.) is obtained by mechanically spraying on freshly cut stumps with spores of the antagonistic fungus Phlebiopsis gigantea (commercialized as Rotstop®).

Thinning operations, Amanda Segtowich
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Traditionally, thinning operations in Sweden are planned according to the stands average values (basal area, tree height and tree species composition). However, today’s forest managers have an access to detailed information (laser scanning, remote sensing etc.) about the forest, down to the level of individual trees.

Precision thinning operations based on such detailed information opens up possibilities to account for within-stand variation that may be caused by e.g. abiotic or biotic damage, spatial and temporal variation in site conditions, competition, and prior silviculture. Precision thinning operations that allow for decision making on pixel or even tree level basis is a hot topic of contemporary forest debate in Sweden.

Western cliffs at Omberg Ecopark. Sveaskog
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Omberg Ecopark

Agenda: Ecopark concept, “de-sprucification”, conservation, oak decline and oak restoration

Located on the shores of Lake Vättern, Omberg Ecopark is one of the country’s most visited nature areas with a mosaic of forests and dramatic mountain slopes.

The area is known as one of Sweden’s most species-rich forest landscapes, with many rare natural environments. Here, you will find beautiful beech forests, centuries-old spruce forests, colourful meadows, cultural monuments and breath-taking views.

Declining oak infected by Phytophthora spp., Mimmi Blomquist.
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The Ecopark is home to some 400 giant oaks – the most biologically rich tree in our country which serves as habitat for over a thousand species.

Omberg Ecopark aims to increase the number of giant oaks to 5,000 – a goal that will take several generations to achieve.

Several recent decline events have occurred in different noble broadleaved tree species and oak is no exception. Climatic extremes and root pathogens (Phytophthora spp., Armillaria spp.) are thought to play an important role in the decline of oak. Oak restoration activities can be seen in in both young and old forests.

Asa research station, Niels Aagaard Jakobsen.
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Asa Experimental Forest / Research station

Agenda: continuous cover forestry, high yield experimental forest, mixed forest, pine weevil, tree species experiments

Asa Experimental Forest and Research station is located in the heart of Småland in a picturesque area surrounded by forests, pastures and lakes. Local stands are dominated by Norway spruce and Scots pine. However, mixtures of both species and native broadleaves are also common. The station is one of the SLU’s (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences) field base research units and the surrounding experimental forest is owned by Sveaskog (Sweden’s largest forest owner). The scope of research at the station is broad and includes research programs for pine weevil control, continuous cover forestry, various tree species experiments, and carbon dioxide exchange between forest soil and the atmosphere.

Pine weevil (Hylobius abietis), Per-Erik Larsson
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Norway spruce (Picea abies), Andis Zvirgzdins
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High-yield experimental forest is one of the Asa’s trademarks. The research conducted at Asa addresses questions regarding intensive forest management on a landscape level such as fertilization and water quality, recreation value and intensive forest management, forest damage, non- native tree species (Douglas-fir, grand fir, hybrid larch) and their influence on flora and fauna. The whole concept is absolutely unique for the boreal forest region.

Silver birch (Betula pendula Roth) in Sweden, Andis Zvirgzdins
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Birch (Betula spp.), (primarily, naturally regenerated), was shown to have relatively low production compared to Norway spruce and Scots pine. However, genetically improved Silver birch (B. pendula) is an interesting alternative to both species. The proportion of birch in the total standing volume of Swedish forests is continuously increasing (~13%). However, there is still lack of knowledge on stand establishment, management and stand development for planted birch. Therefore, extensive, multidisciplinary research efforts are taken to overcome these knowledge gaps within a new Centre of Excellence “Trees for me”.

The research station also hosts information activities in the experimental forest, mainly through field trips and teaching in the field. Both scientific field experiments and educational landscaped demonstration areas are utilised for these activities. Every year the research station receives hundreds of researchers, students and other visitors. The long traditions of silviculture research together with beautiful landscape surely makes Asa one of the finest places that we will visit during the tour.

Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris), Michelle Cleary
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Småland – Sweden for real

Agenda: Scots pine – regeneration, drought damage, needle and shoot disease outbreaks; tree species shift and biodiversity implications

The region of Småland is as Swedish as it gets: pristine nature with over 5,000 lakes and rivers, quaint red cottages, a rich culture, the birthplace of IKEA and famed children’s book author Astrid Lindgren. The typical landscape of inland Småland offers dense coniferous forests. Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) is the second most dominant tree species in commercial Swedish forestry, accounting for 39% of the total standing volume in Swedish forests.

Regeneration issues are a key research focus in Sweden to increase the use of pine but establishment is challenged by several abiotic factors (e.g. drought) and biotic factors (several fungal diseases, ungulate browsing). Local outbreaks of pine needle cast disease have been associated to drought events. Here, new techniques such as multispectral and hyperspectral drone imaging offer huge potential for monitoring forest health conditions in forest stands. Low-intensity management using shelterwoods, seed trees and, if necessary supplementary planting, will also be demonstrated.

Needle cast disease in mature pine, Iryna Matsiakh
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Drone equipped with multispectral sensors acquiring precise imaging of crown conditions in disease-stricken stands. Iryna Matsiakh
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Eriksberg Nature Reserve in Blekinge archipelago

Agenda: hiking, safari park, guided safari tour

With just over 900 ha, this coastal landscape is characterized by deciduous forest, pine forest, deciduous swamp forest, rocky forest, juniper bushland, wooded and open pastures, heath and grassland, seashore meadow, rocky ground, sea bay, island, lakes and ponds; and a rich cultural history. Eriksberg is today one of northern Europe’s largest protected areas for wild life.

View of the Baltic Sea from the Norra Stenshuvud's peak.
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Stenshuvuds nationalpark

Agenda: protected areas, conservation and restoration management, Phytophthora tree pathogens, invasive species

Stenshuvud National Park is part of Natura 2000 and is one of the most well-known places in the region of Skåne. The national park accommodates many different types of nature in a small area: deciduous forests (oak, beech), pastures, sandy heaths, enchanting alder swamp forest and young, dense hornbeam forest with elements of wide-crowned beeches and oaks, a beautiful sandy beach and even the ruins of a 6th-century fortress. Several hiking trails take you around and from the highest peak of the mountain, an impressive 96 asl, you have a view of the Baltic Sea coast.

Phytophthora spp. damage on European beech. Mimmi Blomquist.
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Grazing animals which used to dominate the area centuries earlier have been re-introduced to help manage vegetation which otherwise threatens the unique nature of Stenshuvud. Anthropogenic activities also play a role in modifying natural environments. At Stenshuvud and many other protected areas across southern Sweden, Phytophthora spp. are causing damage to the trees and high public usage of the parks are likely impacting its dispersal.

Kivik – The Apple Kingdom

Agenda: apple cultivation, integrated pest management

In Österlen (east coast of Skåne) lies Kivik – a small village that is also the location of the Bronze Age burial sites of Kiviksgraven and Ängakåsen, some of the most significant in Sweden. Today Kivik is the gateway for visitors to the largest orchard region in Sweden. The southern climate is very suitable for apple cultivation: the soil is poor and sandy, but surrounded by the Baltic Sea – the cold springs counteracts premature flowering, but in autumn, the heat stays for a long time; creating perfect conditions for slow ripening and unique taste to our Swedish apples.

Snogeholm, Forest and landscape laboratory, Lars Andersson
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Snogeholm’s forestry and landscape laboratory

Agenda: forest and landscape research laboratory, tree species choice, tree species experiment

The forest and landscape laboratory is located in Snogeholm’s recreational area nearby Snogeholm Lake. This research infrastructure is a result of a cooperation between the Department of Landscape Planning and the the Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre (both at Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences) with the support of regional funds (Region Skåne).

Extensive mortality caused by the ash dieback pathogen Hymenoscyphus fraxineus, Michelle Cleary
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The experiment is unique in Northern Europe. In the southern region of Skåne, there are great opportunities to diversify forests with the choice of tree species to fulfil both economical, ecological and social needs.

Snogeholm’s forest and landscape laboratory was established in 1993 to study all Swedish native tree species (plus hybrid larch and hybrid aspen) in 68 different monoculture or mixed combinations. Here, we will demonstrate the potential in reforestation by planting broadleaves, using nurse trees and in admixtures of fast growing trees.

Screening of susceptible and resistant ash genotypes at the seed orchard located in southern Sweden, Michelle Cleary.
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Also at Snogeholm lies the oldest genetic trial with European ash, establishing in the early 1990’s with more than 100 plus tree clones. Ash populations across Europe have suffered substantial losses since the introduction of the invasive fungus Hymenoscyphus fraxineus (causing the disease commonly known as ‘ash dieback’).

Here we will see and discuss the impact this invasive forest disease has had and current research efforts made to substantially improve the forest regeneration material through careful selection and screening for resistance.

Giant beech topiary at Pildammsparken, Malmö.
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Malmö’s Pildammsparken

Agenda: Urban forestry and urban tree health

Pildammsparken with its 45 hectares is the largest park in Malmö. It is located around a system of several old ponds that were created in the 17th century as a water reservoir for the city. Participants will see the beauty of the park and hear about Sweden’s municipal management of greenspaces and trees, as well as ongoing challenges in connection with industry’s development and invasive species.