Planning for Viable Forests with High Biodiversity

University essay from Lunds universitet/Miljövetenskaplig utbildning

Abstract: In recent decades, the rate of extinction of species is increasing due to human use and refinement of nature. This has resulted in a large amount of research throughout the world. Forestry today is mostly based on clear cuts, and many natural forests have been cut down and replaced with monocultured forests. This is the major reason to the loss of species. Research has increased the knowledge about alternative forestry methods and measures are being taken to create nature conservation laws. This has resulted in a small amount of changes from even-aged to continuous forestry. At the same time the interest for more intensive forestry has grown due to increasing need of wood products. Thus, the cost-effectiveness and production orientation are becoming increasingly important. Increased protection of forest biodiversity often implies reduced income from timber and pulp production both for society, companies and forest owners. Swedish County Administrative Board have occasionally stopped forest harvesting because of red-listed species. This has begun a debate about restricted freedom for owners, even though only 5% of 54000 notifications regarding violations of conservation protected forests have been stopped. Forest owners have a major responsibility for the forest's present and future health. For effective management, it is important to understand ecosystem responses to disturbance. Therefore, more measures must be done to inspire foresters to new forms of forestry. Cross-disciplinary cooperation between economic science, natural sciences, political work and legislation must be established with forestry in the center, because knowledge create motivation. There is also a need to provide forest owners with a value for biodiversity for their forest property. To estimate biodiversity climax and carrying capacity for an area, a biodiversity index describing the abiotic basic Prerequisites for Biodiversity (APB) is needed. To make such an index, you can use available data in databases such as Sweden's geological survey (SGU) and Geographical Information System (GIS). Such index could then be accompanied with guideline describing what is needed in the area to build for future high biodiversity. More research is also needed to find out if it is possible to manage even-aged-forestry in some land areas and at the same time be able to save guard biodiversity only by leaving patches with old trees connected with corridors for wildlife connectivity. A Forestry sector information and knowledge system that more strongly incorporates biodiversity issues is needed. Within such a system services such as soil tests, economic and ecologic advices and tools as APB-index could be provided helping landowners plan their forest to higher biodiversity.

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