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Research article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

Application of the Global Uncertainty and Sensitivity Analysis to assess the importance of deadwood characteristics for forest biodiversity

Mazziotta, Adriano; Kangas, Annika; Llorente, Irene De Pellegrin; Tikkanen, Olli-Pekka; Eyvindson, Kyle


Data acquisition for sustainable forest management has focused on obtaining high quality information to estimate biomass. Improving the quality of non-timber sustainability indicators, like deadwood volume, has been a minor interest. To explore how inventory approaches could be improved, we applied a Global Uncertainty and Sensitivity Analysis (GUSA) to evaluate which factors propagate more errors in deadwood modelling and how better data collection can minimize them. The impact of uncertainty on deadwood characteristics (diameter, collapse ratio, decay class, tree species, and position) was explored under stakeholders ' preferences, management actions, and climate change scenarios. GUSA showed that removing the prediction error in deadwood tree species and diameter would alter the most the total uncertainty in deadwood volume. We found that assessment of high deadwood volume was less uncertain for the scenarios where small deadwood items were left decaying on the forest floor (BAU) and for high-end climate change scenario (RCP8.5) which resulted in lower deadwood accumulation in forest stands and therefore also in lower likelihood of erroneous estimates. Reduced uncertainty in tree species and diameter class will elevate the certainty of deadwood volume to a similar level achieved in living biomass estimation. Our uncertainty and sensitivity analysis was successful in ranking factors propagating errors in estimate of deadwood and identified a strategy to minimize uncertainty in predicting deadwood characteristics. The estimation of uncertainty in deadwood levels under the scenarios developed in our study can help decision makers to evaluate risk of decreasing deadwood value for biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation.


Biodiversity; Boreal; Deadwood; Finland; Global Uncertainty and Sensitivity Analysis; Laser-scanning; Prediction errors

Published in

Stochastic Environmental Research and Risk Assessment
2024, Volume: 38, number: 5, pages: 1783–1802 Publisher: SPRINGER

    Associated SLU-program

    SLU Forest Damage Center

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Forest Science
    Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

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