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Habitat Models of Focal Species Can Link Ecology and Decision-Making in Sustainable Forest Management

Lohmus, Asko and Kont, Raido and Runnel, Kadri and Vaikre, Maarja and Remm, Liina (2020). Habitat Models of Focal Species Can Link Ecology and Decision-Making in Sustainable Forest Management. Forests. 11 , 721 , 1-27
[Article Review/Survey]

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A fundamental problem of sustainability is how to reduce the double complexity of ecological and social systems into simple operational terms. We highlight that the conservation concept of focal species (selected species sensitive to a set of anthropogenic threats to their habitat) links multiple issues of ecological sustainability, and their habitat models can provide a practical tool for solving these issues. A review of the literature shows that most spatial modeling of focal species focuses on vertebrates, lacks the aspect of aquatic and soil habitats, and has been slow in the uptake by actual management planning. We elaborate on a deductive modeling approach that first generalizes the main influential dimensions of habitat change (threats), which are then parameterized as habitat quality estimates for focal species. If built on theoretical understanding and properly scaled, the maps produced with such models can cost-effectively describe the dynamics of ecological qualities across forest landscapes, help set conservation priorities, and reflect on management plans and practices. The models also serve as ecological hypotheses on biodiversity and landscape function. We illustrate this approach based on recent additions to the forest reserve network in Estonia, which addressed the insufficient protection of productive forest types. For this purpose, mostly former production forests that may require restoration were set aside. We distinguished seven major habitat dimensions and their representative taxa in these forests and depicted each dimension as a practical stand-scale decision tree of habitat quality. The model outcomes implied that popular stand-structural targets of active forest restoration would recover passively in reasonable time in these areas, while a critically degraded condition (loss of old trees of characteristic species) required management beyond reserve borders. Another hidden issue revealed was that only a few stands of consistently low habitat quality concentrated in the landscape to allow cost-efficient restoration planning. We conclude that useful habitat models for sustainable forest management have to balance single-species realism with stakeholder expectations of meaningful targets and scales. Addressing such social aspects through the focal species concept could accelerate the adoption of biodiversity distribution modeling in forestry.

Authors/Creators:Lohmus, Asko and Kont, Raido and Runnel, Kadri and Vaikre, Maarja and Remm, Liina
Title:Habitat Models of Focal Species Can Link Ecology and Decision-Making in Sustainable Forest Management
Series Name/Journal:Forests
Year of publishing :2020
Article number:721
Number of Pages:27
Publication Type:Article Review/Survey
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 401 Agricultural, Forestry and Fisheries > Forest Science
(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 106 Biological Sciences (Medical to be 3 and Agricultural to be 4) > Ecology
Keywords:biodiversity, ecological sustainability, fine-filter approach, geographical information systems, habitat restoration, habitat suitability model, indicator species, pressure-state-response model, protected areas, stand structure
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Additional ID:
Type of IDID
Web of Science (WoS)000554233200001
ID Code:17450
Faculty:S - Faculty of Forest Sciences
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Ecology
(S) > Dept. of Ecology
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:14 Sep 2020 11:12
Metadata Last Modified:15 Jan 2021 19:26

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