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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2016

Considering Future Potential Regarding Structural Diversity in Selection of Forest Reserves

Lundström, Johanna; Öhman, Karin; Rönnqvist, Mikael; Gustafsson, Lena


A rich structural diversity in forests promotes biodiversity. Forests are dynamic and therefore it is crucial to consider future structural potential when selecting reserves, to make robust conservation decisions. We analyzed forests in boreal Sweden based on 17,599 National Forest Inventory (NFI) plots with the main aim to understand how effectiveness of reserves depends on the time dimension in the selection process, specifically by considering future structural diversity. In the study both the economic value and future values of 15 structural variables were simulated during a 100 year period. To get a net present structural value (NPSV), a single value covering both current and future values, we used four discounting alternatives: (1) only considering present values, (2) giving equal importance to values in each of the 100 years within the planning horizon, (3) applying an annual discount rate considering the risk that values could be lost, and (4) only considering the values in year 100. The four alternatives were evaluated in a reserve selection model under budget-constrained and area-constrained selections. When selecting young forests higher structural richness could be reached at a quarter of the cost over almost twice the area in a budget-constrained selection compared to an area-constrained selection. Our results point to the importance of considering future structural diversity in the selection of forest reserves and not as is done currently to base the selection on existing values. Targeting future values increases structural diversity and implies a relatively lower cost. Further, our results show that a re-orientation from old to young forests would imply savings while offering a more extensive reserve network with high structural qualities in the future. However, caution must be raised against a drastic reorientation of the current old-forest strategy since remnants of ancient forests will need to be prioritized due to their role for disturbance-sensitive species.

Published in

2016, volume: 11, number: 2, article number: e0148960

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Resource Management
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Resource Management
Rönnqvist, Mikael
Laval University
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG13 Climate action

UKÄ Subject classification

Forest Science

Publication Identifiers


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