- Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Spinu, Andreea Petronela; Mysiak, Weronika; Bauhus, Juergen; Bielak, Kamil; Niklasson, Mats
Retention of structural elements such as deadwood and habitat trees at the level of forest stands has been promoted to integrate biodiversity conservation into multiple-use forest management. The conservation value of habitat trees is largely determined by the presence, richness, and abundance of tree-related microhabitats (TreMs). Since TreMs are often lacking in intensively managed forests, an important question of forest conservation is how the abundance and richness of TreMs may be effectively restored. Here, we investigated whether the strict protection of forest through cessation of timber harvesting influenced TreM occurrence at tree and stand levels. For that purpose, we compared four managed and four set-aside stands (0.25 ha each) in the Bialowieza Forest, with identical origin following clear-cuts approximately 100 years ago. We found that the abundance and richness of TreMs on living trees were not significantly different between stands that were either conventionally managed or where active forest management ceased 52 years ago. Yet, our analysis of TreMs on tree species with contrasting life-history traits revealed that short-lived, fast-growing species (pioneers) developed TreMs quicker than longer-lived, slower-growing species. Hence, tree species such as Populus or Betula, which supply abundant and diverse TreMs, can play an important role in accelerating habitat restoration.
biodiversity conservation; biodiversity indicator; closer-to-nature forest management; compartmentalization of decay; forest restoration; pioneer species
Ecology and Evolution
2023, Volume: 13, number: 7, article number: e10238