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Review article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

For the sake of resilience and multifunctionality, let's diversify planted forests!

Messier, Christian; Bauhus, Juergen; Sousa-Silva, Rita; Auge, Harald; Baeten, Lander; Barsoum, Nadia; Bruelheide, Helge; Caldwell, Benjamin; Cavender-Bares, Jeannine; Dhiedt, Els; Eisenhauer, Nico; Ganade, Gislene; Gravel, Dominique; Guillemot, Joannes; Hall, Jefferson S.; Hector, Andrew; Herault, Bruno; Jactel, Herve; Koricheva, Julia; Kreft, Holger;
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As of 2020, the world has an estimated 290 million ha of planted forests and this number is continuously increasing. Of these, 131 million ha are monospecific planted forests under intensive management. Although monospecific planted forests are important in providing timber, they harbor less biodiversity and are potentially more susceptible to disturbances than natural or diverse planted forests. Here, we point out the increasing scientific evidence for increased resilience and ecosystem service provision of functionally and species diverse planted forests (hereafter referred to as diverse planted forests) compared to monospecific ones. Furthermore, we propose five concrete steps to foster the adoption of diverse planted forests: (1) improve awareness of benefits and practical options of diverse planted forests among land-owners, managers, and investors; (2) incentivize tree species diversity in public funding of afforestation and programs to diversify current maladapted planted forests of low diversity; (3) develop new wood-based products that can be derived from many different tree species not yet in use; (4) invest in research to assess landscape benefits of diverse planted forests for functional connectivity and resilience to global-change threats; and (5) improve the evidence base on diverse planted forests, in particular in currently under-represented regions, where new options could be tested.


Biodiversity; climate change mitigation; ecosystem services; forest functioning; forest landscape restoration; plantations; resilience; sustainable forest management

Published in

Conservation Letters
2022, volume: 15, number: 1, article number: e12829
Publisher: WILEY

Authors' information

Messier, Christian
University of Quebec Montreal
Bauhus, Jürgen
University of Freiburg
Sousa-Silva, Rita
University of Quebec Montreal (UQAM)
Auge, Harald
Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research (UFZ)
Baeten, Lander
Ghent University
Barsoum, Nadia
Alice Holt Lodge
Bruelheide, Helge
Martin Luther University Halle Wittenberg
Caldwell, Benjamin
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
Cavender-Bares, Jeannine
University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Dhiedt, Els
Ghent University
Eisenhauer, Nico
Leipzig University
Ganade, Gislene
Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN)
Gravel, Dominique
University of Sherbrooke
Guillemot, Joannes
Universidade de Sao Paulo
Hall, Jefferson S.
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Hector, Andrew
University of Oxford
Hérault, Bruno
French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (Cirad)
Jactel, Herve
Universite de Bordeaux
Koricheva, Julia
Royal Holloway University of London
Kreft, Holger
University of Göttingen
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Sustainable Development Goals

SDG15 Life on land
SDG13 Climate action
SDG12 Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

UKÄ Subject classification

Forest Science
Environmental Sciences

Publication Identifiers


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