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Research article2021Peer reviewedOpen access

High rates of short-term dynamics of forest ecosystem services

Snall, Tord; Trivino, Maria; Mair, Louise; Bengtsson, Jan; Moen, Jon


Currently, the main tools for assessing and managing ecosystem services at large scales are maps providing snapshots of their potential supply. However, many ecosystems change over short timescales; thus, such maps soon become inaccurate. Here we show high rates of short-term dynamics of three key forest ecosystem services: wood production, bilberry production and topsoil carbon storage. Almost 85% of the coldspots and 65% of the hotspots for these services had changed into a different state over a ten-year period. Wood production showed higher rates of short-term dynamics than bilberry production and carbon storage. The high rates of dynamics mean that static snapshot ecosystem service maps provide limited information for assessing and managing multifunctional, dynamic landscapes, such as forests. We advocate that dynamic, spatially explicit tools to assess and manage ecosystem service dynamics be further developed and applied in post-2020 biodiversity and ecosystem service policy supporting frameworks.Static maps are key tools for assessing ecosystem services. This study shows that hotspots of three boreal-forest services-wood production, bilberry production and topsoil carbon storage-can vary widely over just ten years, suggesting the value of dynamic tools to manage dynamic landscapes.

Published in

Nature sustainability
2021, Volume: 4, number: 11, pages: 951-957

      SLU Authors

    • Sustainable Development Goals

      Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

      UKÄ Subject classification

      Forest Science

      Publication identifier


      Permanent link to this page (URI)