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Research article2023Peer reviewedOpen access

What drives forest multifunctionality in central and northern Europe? Exploring the interplay of management, climate, and policies

Caicoya, Astor Torano; Vergarechea, Marta; Blattert, Clemens; Klein, Julian; Eyvindson, Kyle; Burgas, Daniel; Snall, Tord; Monkkonen, Mikko; Astrup, Rasmus; Di Fulvio, Fulvio; Forsell, Niklas; Hartikainen, Markus; Uhl, Enno; Poschenrieder, Werner; Anton-Fernandez, Clara


Forests provide a range of vital services to society and are critical habitats for biodiversity, holding inherent multifunctionality. While traditionally viewed as a byproduct of production-focused forestry, today's forest ecosystem services and biodiversity (FESB) play an essential role in several sectoral policies' needs. Achieving policy objectives requires careful management considering the interplay of services, influenced by regional aspects and climate. Here, we examined the multifunctionality gap caused by these factors through simulation of forest management and multi-objective optimization methods across different regions - Finland, Norway, Sweden and Germany (Bavaria). To accomplish this, we tested diverse management regimes (productivity-oriented silviculture, several continuous cover forestry regimes and set asides), two climate scenarios (current and RCP 4.5) and three policy strategies (National Forest, Biodiversity and Bioeconomy Strategies). For each combination we calculated a multifunctionality metric at the landscape scale based on 5 FESB classes (biodiversity conservation, bioenergy, climate regulation, wood, water and recreation). In Germany and Norway, maximum multifunctionality was achieved by increasing the proportion of set-asides and proportionally decreasing the rest of management regimes. In Finland, maximum MF would instead require that policies address greater diversity in management, while in Sweden, the pattern was slightly different but similar to Finland. Regarding the climate scenarios, we observed that only for Sweden the difference in the provision of FESB was significant. Finally, the highest overall potential multifunctionality was observed for Sweden (National Forest scenario, with a value of 0.94 for the normalized multifunctionality metric), followed by Germany (National Forest scenario, 0.83), Finland (Bioeconomy scenario, 0.81) and Norway (National Forest scenario, 0.71). The results highlight the challenges of maximizing multifunctionality and underscore the significant influence of country-specific policies and climate change on forest management. To achieve the highest multifunctionality, strategies must be tailored to specific national landscapes, acknowledging both synergistic and conflicting FESB.


Multi-objective optimization; Biodiversity; Forestry; Bioeconomy; Forest policy; Sustainability

Published in

Ecosystem Services
2023, Volume: 64, article number: 101575