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Research article2016Peer reviewedOpen access

Socio-ecological implications of modifying rotation lengths in forestry

Roberge, Jean-Michel; Laudon, Hjalmar; Björkman, Christer; Ranius, Thomas; Sandström, Camilla; Felton, Adam; Sténs, Anna; Nordin, Annika; Granström, Anders; Widemo, Fredrik; Bergh, Johan; Sonesson, Johan; Stenlid, Jan; Lundmark, Tomas


The rotation length is a key component ofeven-aged forest management systems. UsingFennoscandian forestry as a case, we review the socioecologicalimplications of modifying rotation lengthsrelative to current practice by evaluating effects on arange of ecosystem services and on biodiversityconservation. The effects of shortening rotations onprovisioning services are expected to be mostly negativeto neutral (e.g. production of wood, bilberries, reindeerforage), while those of extending rotations would be morevaried. Shortening rotations may help limit damage bysome of today's major damaging agents (e.g. root rot,cambium-feeding insects), but may also increase otherdamage types (e.g. regeneration pests) and impede climatemitigation. Supporting (water, soil nutrients) and cultural(aesthetics, cultural heritage) ecosystem services wouldgenerally be affected negatively by shortened rotations andpositively by extended rotations, as would mostbiodiversity indicators. Several effect modifiers, such aschanges to thinning regimes, could alter these patterns.


Climate change; Forest damage; Non-timber forest products; Production; Recreation; Timber

Published in

AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment
2016, Volume: 45(Suppl.2), pages: S109-S123