, Volume 87, Issue 1, pp 85–98 | Cite as

The Finnish forest site type approach: ordination and classification studies of mesic forest sites in southern Finland

  • Tiina Tonteri
  • Juha -Pekka Hotanen
  • Jussi Kuusipalo


A.K. Cajander's forest site type classification system is based on definition of plant communities typical to certain climatical and edaphical site conditions, but the structure and composition of the tree stands in Finland are considered sensitive to random variation and are therefore not used as primary classification criteria. The system has often received criticism, usually that the effects of the tree stand and successional stage of the stand have been underestimated. Most of the present-day forest stands in Finland represent young successional stages and are subjected to intensive management. This should result in an additional difficulty in the application of the forest site types in the field.

The present study is based on three independent data sets representing forests on mineral soil in southern part of Finland. TWINSPAN classification, DCA ordination and canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) techniques were applied in successive stages of the data analysis. It was found that the definition of the intermediately fertile, mesic site types was clearly confused by the effects of the tree species and age of the stand. The analyses also revealed that the succession pathways on mesic forest sites are largely determined by the tree species composition. In stands dominated by Pinus sylvestris, the succession follows the competitive hierarchy model, whereas in stands dominated by Picea abies, severe shading of the tree canopy governs the development of understorey vegetation.


CCA DCA Finland Forest site types Forest succession Forest vegetation TWINSPAN 



Canonical correspondence Analysis


Detrended correspondence Analysis


Two-way indicator species analysis


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tiina Tonteri
    • 1
  • Juha -Pekka Hotanen
    • 2
  • Jussi Kuusipalo
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of SilvicultureThe Finnish Forest Research InstituteVantaaFinland
  2. 2.Joensuu Research StationThe Finnish Forest Research InstituteJoensuuFinland
  3. 3.Joensuu Research StationThe Finnish Forest Research InstituteJoensuuFinland

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