Big trees a threat to popular bilberries

Last Updated: June 3, 2017
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Big trees give no chance to the popular bilberries to grow, the deficit of light harms the berry, Swedish scientists say. The recent study shows that the number of wild bilberry shrubs is diminishing in Swedish forests, according to the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU).

Big trees in Swedish forests are growing taller and denser through forestry practices but a factor of such growth means a lot to bilberry, the berries need light, trees steal it from them.

Jonas Dahlgren of Swedish National Forestry Inventory notes in the press release that this year’s annual forest report shows bilberry shrub numbers have decreased by 20 percent.

“More trees– and larger trees makes for intense competition,”

he added.

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Threat to the bilberries: light is the problem

Dark forest gives no chance to bilberries, says Rolf Nestby, a senior researcher at the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research, he knows in details the conditions these berries require.

“You typically find bilberries in clearings where there is more light. The shrubs can be found in dense spruce forests, but they almost never have berries,” 

explains Mr Nestby, urging the foresters and scientists to find the best solution, both for berries and large trees.

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