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Increase in dead wood, large living trees and tree diversity, yet decrease in understory vegetation cover: The effect of three decades of biodiversity-oriented forest policy in Swedish forests

Kyaschenko, Julia and Strengbom, Joachim and Felton, Adam and Aakala, Tuomas and Staland, Hanna and Ranius, Thomas (2022). Increase in dead wood, large living trees and tree diversity, yet decrease in understory vegetation cover: The effect of three decades of biodiversity-oriented forest policy in Swedish forests. Journal of Environmental Management. 313 , 114993
[Research article]

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Abstract

In Sweden, the majority of forest area has been altered by industrial forestry over the decades. Almost 30 years ago, a shift towards biodiversity-oriented forest management practices occurred. Here we took advantage of long-term data collected by the Swedish National Forest Inventory to track developmental changes in forest structural components over this time. We assessed changes in structural components that play an important role in biodiversity (dead wood, large living trees, tree species composition, and understory vegetation) in four forest types with descending tiers of biodiversity protection: protected areas, woodland key habitats, low-productivity forests and production forests. Overall, we found a positive trend in the volumes of dead wood and large living trees, as well as in tree species diversity, while there was a general decline in understory vegetation coverage. Most observed changes were consistent with the intended outcomes of the current forest policy, adapted in the early 1990s. The implementation of retention forestry is likely driving some of the observed changes in forest structural components in the south. In contrast, we observed no changes in any of the focal structural components in the north, which could be attributed to the ongoing clear-cutting of forests previously managed less intensively. Dead wood and large living trees increased not only in managed, but also in unmanaged forests, likely reflecting historical management. The increased tree species diversity can be explained through current forest management practices that encourages maintenance of additional tree species. Decreasing understory vegetation coverage in both dense managed and unmanaged forests suggests that factors other than forestry contribute to the ongoing changes in understory vegetation in Swedish forests. Overall, the observed increase in structural components has not yet been reflected in documented improvements for red-listed forest species, which may be due to delays in species responses to small improvements, as well as a lack of detailed monitoring. Similarly, the increased availability of forest structural components might still be insufficient to meet the specific habitat requirements of red-listed species.

Authors/Creators:Kyaschenko, Julia and Strengbom, Joachim and Felton, Adam and Aakala, Tuomas and Staland, Hanna and Ranius, Thomas
Title:Increase in dead wood, large living trees and tree diversity, yet decrease in understory vegetation cover: The effect of three decades of biodiversity-oriented forest policy in Swedish forests
Series Name/Journal:Journal of Environmental Management
Year of publishing :2022
Volume:313
Article number:114993
Number of Pages:13
Publisher:ACADEMIC PRESS LTD- ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD
ISSN:0301-4797
Language:English
Publication Type:Research 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 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 401 Agricultural, Forestry and Fisheries > Forest Science
(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 2 Engineering and Technology > 207 Environmental Engineering > Environmental Management
Keywords:Biodiversity, Swedish NFI, Production forests, Low-productivity forests, Woodland key habitats, Protected areas, Forest structural components, Forest management
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-118019
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-118019
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
DOI10.1016/j.jenvman.2022.114993
Web of Science (WoS)000806576200003
ID Code:28587
Faculty:S - Faculty of Forest Sciences
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Ecology
(S) > Dept. of Ecology

(S) > Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:26 Aug 2022 09:32
Metadata Last Modified:26 Aug 2022 09:41

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