Natural regeneration of lodgepole pine in boreal Sweden.
The large-scale introduction of lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta ssp. latifolia, LP) into Swedish forests was initiated around 1970, and currently 520,000 hectares of the forest land are dominated by the species. Even though the tree has mostly serotine cones, adapted to open after forest fires, it has proved able to self-regenerate in Sweden. This study is the first to present, scientifically, the extent of self-regeneration covering the whole current range of LP-forests in Sweden. LP-saplings were recorded for three years, 2015-2017, in 8194 subplots distributed over 214 randomly selected LP-stands from latitude 59.6-66.9°N and altitude 88-710 m asl. Of all subplots, 3% contained LP-saplings, and regeneration was found in 53% of all stands. The probability of finding LP-saplings was significantly dependent on the plots' distance from the edge of the LP-stand, and 78% of all saplings were found within and up to 15 m beyond the stand edge. Most, 63%, of the plots with LP were found on disturbed ground such as wheel tracks, roadsides and where there had been site preparation. The results show that LP can naturally spread under a range of conditions in the studied region. The regeneration is, however, concentrated in particular stands and should be possible to control with monitoring programmes and measures to eradicate self-dispersed trees in unwanted areas.