According to the Statistic Central Bureau the municipality of Helsingborg has 122.000 inhabitants and the green areas close and around 5 Km downtown are very scarce. In the Reconnaissance maps of 1820, a big area in the northern part of the town of Helsingborg was covered with agricultural lands. Today all these areas has been built and Pålsjö is located right away in the northern part of the town. Pålsjö forest is one of the most used and impacted green areas in Helsingborg. Almost everyone knows and uses the area very often, and this severe use added to the air pollution caused by traffic and industry is impacting this green area.
The actual forest landscape itself has been going through a series of uses, characters and development. Today the dominant beech trees are probably going to take over in the future with the consecutive eradication of oaks. It is possible to experience in the forest today more and more oak trees disappearing. The reason for this is not well known since there are not deep studies into this field. In some places it is possible to see that beech trees are taking over because they are dominant and this diminishes light and nutrient conditions for other species. In some other places the standing water could be negative for all growing trees. Fungi diseases are as well in the list of the factors that are killing trees in Pålsjö.
The forest itself has become into its final phase of developing and unfortunately it seems that there is no future to it. The beech trees are taking over and the variation of the landscape, biodiversity and even recreation will be drastically reduced. Already in 1941 the landscape expert Mårten Sjöbeck stated that Pålsjö is going to die if nothing was done. In the mean time Victor Anjou, then Helsingborg’s park department chief, trying to regenerate the forest opened some stands by means of thinning, action that was much criticised even by the press.
I plan to develop my project within the landscape planning using the character assessment and both communication and comparison as methods. In the last course of Communicative Planning, Design and Management of Urban Woodlands I learned and experienced how valuable is communication. I will gather information by interviewing and talking to local managers about their feelings, experience and suggestions in order to plan a future development for Pålsjö forest. The comparison will be made with reference forest within the same municipality and will give an idea of the different managements. The landscape character assessment will show the actual status of the forest and its uses.
The managers of Pålsjö forests are Helsingborg’s building bureau, responsible for the creation of management plans, the park department which is the total administrator for the area and the local contractor, ENTEK, responsible for the practical work. The contact language during the whole field work study is Swedish, translated to English for the elaboration of this document.
The reference forests are represented by Småryd forest, part of it declared Nature Reserve in 2005 and administrated by the municipality of Helsingborg, and Rosendal’s oak grove owned by the family Bennet since the middle of the 18th century. According to maps from the Swedish Geological Research, Pålsjö, Småryd and Rosendal have more or less the same soil type, which is mainly moraine with some till.
The main aim of this project work is to find out the actual status of the Pålsjö forest by interviewing its key managers in order to develop a more dynamic, diversified and safer landscape that will meet a future and satisfy the needs of the developing community.
My objectives with the present work are:
• Get a comprehensive knowledge of the actual forest landscape and its management.
• Get to know the local managers and their actions in order to understand the development of Pålsjö.
• Understand the development of the actual landscape through time.
• Be able to compare Pålsjö with other landscape references within the same municipality.
• Gather managers and connoisseurs in order to discuss future management strategies.
• The final objective is to plan a future forest management for Pålsjö.
After a balance of the project work, I have decided to leave the last two objectives for a future project where the time and organizational conditions will permit to fulfil them. Economy has not been considered in this project.
The landscape character assessment produced a complete map of the forest stands and their uses. After the interviews, SWOT analyses were conceived in order to understand the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the different forest. These analyses showed the status of the forests and at the same time permitted their comparison.
The conclusions obtained are:
• Pålsjö is in its final stage, and if we do nothing, it will die itself as Mårten Sjöbeck has stated already in 1941. Consequently, actions are to be taken in order to find a management plan to strength the forest stands.
• The dominant tree species in Pålsjö is beech followed by oak, hornbeam and alder. However, the population of oaks is being reduced in several places, partly because of the competition for light and nutrients. This situation could be improved by creating a more balanced atmosphere through forest management. Future monocultures will only be vulnerable to selective diseases like the Dutch elm disease, and today the ash disease.
• The managers have a lot to share through their experiences, thoughts and interests. This invaluable knowledge and experience needs to be canalized and discussed in order to create more specific strategies for Pålsjö forest. Not all the managers agree in a certain management however all would like to have improvements. The present document work should be presented to them in order to discuss and visualize possible alternatives.
• Pålsjö is a recreational area. This situation demands a special management for both the security and liability of the visitors and the forest itself in the short and the long term time perspective. According to the Statistic Central Bureau the green areas close and around 5 Km of the towns of Helsingborg and Malmö are very scarce. This emphasizes even more the need of a genuine and well documented development plan.
• Rosendal’s oak grove and Småryd forest has more stable and dynamic forest stands in comparison to Pålsjö. This shows that oriented managements can create stable and dynamic forests. Consequently i...