We studied tree regeneration, a key process for the existence of urban woodlands. We hypothesized that, besides the usual biological factors, anthropogenic ones (fragmentation, wear, pollution etc.) determine the regeneration success of tree species in urban woodlands. To test this hypothesis, within an observational setting, we collected data from 30 urban woodlands in the cities of Helsinki and Vantaa, Finland. We defined the number of living saplings (30‐200cm in height) as an indicator of regeneration success and used regression analysis to test different factors as independent variables. The results showed that different tree species responded differently to urban pressure. The regeneration of Picea abies decreased with increasing fragmentation of the forest landscape, whereas for the other most common (deciduous) species, regeneration increased. Wear, measured as total path area per study site, had a negative effect on regeneration success. An a posteriori examination of the data suggested that coarse woody debris might promote regeneration. We conclude that, although tree regeneration in general is not threatened in urban woodlands in the area we studied, the species composition may gradually change. We discuss some management implications for counteracting the urban pressures on tree regeneration.
Nomenclature: Hämet‐Ahti et al. 1992.