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Abstract

Siberian larch Larix sibirica transplanted inside three vegetation zones of South Norway: an amateurbotanists field trial in retrospective view, 1948-2016.

Abstract

The authors report on the fate of a Siberian larch provenance transplanted to three localities in South Norway and monitored during the period 1948-2016. The project was initiated by an amateur botanist, Una Marie Skulberg (1896-1982, of who the authors are direct descendants), as a hobby activity. Larix sibirica provenance Punkaharjo (genetic origin Finland) was selected for the purpose. In situ evaluation of fitness and vitality of the resulting larch stands were made time and again during the years concerned. The plant material consisted of 500 specimens, divided in 3 portions (various numbers) for the transplantation. The sites were geographically located respectively in Fuggdalen, Rendalen (Hedmark county), Gjerdebakken, Norddal (Møre and Romsdal county) and Solstad, Spydeberg (Østfold county). The physiographical, geological and ecological characteristics of the habitats are specified. The larch trees were planted at the selected sites during the summer/autumn 1948. Early in the course of the following years it became apparent that the habitats in Norddal and Spydeberg supported conditions well suited for Siberian larch. In contrast, the habitat in Rendalen were clearly too harsh. The Siberian larch population in Fuggdalen perished gradually, except for a few specimens developing dwarfish and retarded maturity. The experience achieved from the transplant project, are briefly discussed. The lesson obtained from this transplantation doesn't contradict the evaluation of Larix sibirica by the Norwegian Biodiversity Information Center (Artsdatabanken 2012). This species is so long regarded as presenting only a low risk of becoming an invasive species in Norway. But there is, as always, a possibility of adapting to the new conditions, and different provenances may behave differently.