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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Sustainability Assessment of Intensified Forestry-Forest Bioenergy versus Forest Biodiversity Targeting Forest Birds

Mortberg, Ulla; Pang, Xi-Lillian; Treinys, Rimgaudas; Trubins, Renats; Mozgeris, Gintautas


Intensified forestry can be seen as a solution to climate change mitigation and securing energy supply, increasing the production of forest bioenergy feedstock as a substitution for fossil fuels. However, it may come with detrimental impacts on forest biodiversity, especially related to older forests. The aim of this study was to assess the sustainability of intensified forestry from climate-energy and biodiversity perspectives, targeting forest bird species. For this purpose, we applied the Landscape simulation and Ecological Assessment (LEcA) tool to the study area of Lithuania, having high ambitions for renewables and high forest biodiversity. With LEcA, we simulated forest growth and management for 100 years with two forest management strategies: Business As Usual (BAU) and Intensive forestry (INT), the latter with the purpose to fulfil renewable energy goals. With both strategies, the biomass yields increased well above the yields of the reference year, while the biodiversity indicators related to forest bird habitat to different degrees show the opposite, with lower levels than for the reference year. Furthermore, Strategy INT resulted in small-to-no benefits in the long run concerning potential biomass harvesting, while substantially affecting the biodiversity indicators negatively. The model results have the potential to inform policy and forest management planning concerning several sustainability goals simultaneously.


forest bioenergy feedstock; climate change mitigation; older forest; forest biodiversity; forest birds; forest management

Published in

2021, Volume: 13, number: 5, article number: 2789
Publisher: MDPI

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG7 Affordable and clean energy
    SDG12 Responsible consumption and production
    SDG13 Climate action
    SDG15 Life on land

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Forest Science

    Publication identifier


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