3 years ago

Evaluating the influence of integrative forest management on old-growth habitat structures in a temperate forest region

Integrative forest management attempts to simultaneously fulfill both wood production and biodiversity conservation in a given forest region, and presumably supplants the need for unmanaged forest reserves. This is the dominant management paradigm in the temperate zone of Europe, yet few studies have examined the validity of this approach. We used Slovenia as a test bed to examine how the long-term practice of integrative forest management has influenced two structural components of mature forest conditions, namely coarse woody debris (CWD) and large living trees, as well as the distribution of the White-backed Woodpecker, a species dependent on such conditions. Data were compiled from national inventory plots, coupled with separate surveys in 51 forest reserves. The mean volume of CWD and density of large beech trees across managed forests in Slovenia was 15m3 ha1 and 6ha1, respectively; these mean values were significantly higher (165m3 ha1 and 55ha1) in old-growth reserves. CWD was primarily comprised of small diameter pieces in managed forest, whereas large diameter pieces in multiple stages of decay represented most of the volume in reserves. These results, coupled with the limited distribution of the woodpecker across the country, suggest that integrative management practiced over a large scale may be insufficient for maintaining biodiversity dependent on mature forest conditions at current levels of wood extraction.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0006320717305128

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