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Strengthening the Network of High Conservation Value Forests in Boreal Landscapes

Mikusinski, Grzegorz and Orlikowska, Ewa and Bubnicki, Jakub W. and Jonsson, Bengt-Gunnar and Svensson, Johan (2021). Strengthening the Network of High Conservation Value Forests in Boreal Landscapes. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. 8 , 595730
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Abstract

The natural and old-growth forests and their associated biodiversity continues to fade worldwide due to anthropogenic impact in various forms. The boreal forests in Fennoscandia have been subject to intensive clearfelling forestry since the middle of twentieth century. As a result, only a fraction of forests with long temporal continuity remains at the landscape level. In Sweden, some of these primary forests have been formally protected, whereas other forests with known high conservation values are not. Collectively, both protected and not protected known valuable primary forests are included in a nationally delineated network of high conservation value forests (HCVF). In addition to HCVF, older forests that have not been clearfelled since the mid-1900s, i.e., "proxy continuity forests," have recently been mapped across the entire boreal biome in Sweden. In this paper, we analyze how these proxy continuity forests may strengthen the HCVF network from a green infrastructure perspective. First, we evaluate the spatial overlap between proxy continuity forests and HCVF. Second, we perform a large-scale connectivity analysis, in which we show that adding proxy continuity forests located outside HCVF strongly increases the structural connectivity of the network of protected forests. Finally, by assessing habitat suitability for virtual species specialized in pine, spruce, and broadleaf forests, we find large regional differences in the ability to secure habitat and thereby functional green infrastructure by considering currently unprotected primary forest. We show that, by adding those forests to the network, the area of habitat for low-demanding species dependent on spruce or pine forests can be largely increased. For high-demanding species, additional habitat restoration in the landscape matrix is needed. By contrast, even counting all valuable broadleaf forests available is not enough to provide a suitable habitat for their associated species, which indicates a large need for landscape-scale habitat restoration initiatives, in particular, for broadleaf forests.

Authors/Creators:Mikusinski, Grzegorz and Orlikowska, Ewa and Bubnicki, Jakub W. and Jonsson, Bengt-Gunnar and Svensson, Johan
Title:Strengthening the Network of High Conservation Value Forests in Boreal Landscapes
Series Name/Journal:Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution
Year of publishing :2021
Volume:8
Article number:595730
Number of Pages:14
Publisher:FRONTIERS MEDIA SA
ISSN:2296-701X
Language:English
Publication Type:Journal article
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 > 1 Natural sciences > 106 Biological Sciences (Medical to be 3 and Agricultural to be 4) > Ecology
Keywords:continuity forests, primary forests, virtual species, Sweden, connectivity, green infrastructure, Scandinavian Mountains Green Belt
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-110655
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-110655
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
DOI10.3389/fevo.2020.595730
Web of Science (WoS)000614390200001
ID Code:22429
Faculty:S - Faculty of Forest Sciences
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Ecology
(S) > Dept. of Ecology

(S) > School for Forest Management
(S) > Dept. of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:19 Feb 2021 10:59
Metadata Last Modified:19 Feb 2021 11:01

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