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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2011

A landscape and policy perspective on forest conversion: Long-tailed tit (Aegithalos caudatus) and the allocation of deciduous forests in southern Sweden

Lindbladh, Matts; Felton, Adam; Trubins, Renats; Sallnäs, Ola

Abstract

As resources allocated specifically for conservation are limited, there is a need to ensure conservation policy initiatives lead to effective conservation outcomes. In this study, we investigated the potential conservation benefits from alternative spatial allocations of old deciduous stands to a landscape dominated by coniferous production forests owned primarily by non-industrial private forest owners. As a target species, we used the long-tailed tit (Aegithalos caudatus), a species associated with deciduous forests and known to be sensitive to isolation. We used a previously published model based on empirical data on the occurrence of this species, to assess the probability of occurrence of the bird in a 4,000 km(2) area in southern Sweden for which we possess detailed spatial GIS data (kNN data) of tree species composition and age. We assessed alternative scenarios where old deciduous forest was allocated with or without respect to distance from existing old deciduous forests. Due to the long-tailed tit's habitat requirement increasing the amount of old deciduous forests close to existing habitats was the most effective strategy. However, the potential advantages of this strategy may in fact be overturned in favor of the other scenarios if ownership structures and probable uptake rates of policy initiatives are also considered. If a policy initiative is targeted toward owners with properties in close proximity to existing suitable habitat, when compared to if all forest owners are targeted, a higher proportion of owners is needed to participate in order to achieve the same degree of habitat creation for the species. Here, we discuss the potential benefits for effective conservation policy formulation from integrating spatially explicit datasets and detailed ecological knowledge with land-ownership structures and policy uptake scenarios.

Keywords

Aegithalos caudatus; Broadleaved forests; Conservation; Habitat fragmentation; k-nearest neighbors algorithm; kNN; Suitable habitat

Published in

European Journal of Forest Research
2011, Volume: 130, number: 5, pages: 861-869
Publisher: SPRINGER