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Research article2017Peer reviewed

Uneven-aged silviculture can reduce negative effects of forest management on beetles

Joelsson, Klara; Hjalten, Joakim; Work, Timothy; Gibb, Heloise; Roberge, Jean-Michel; Lofroth, Therese


Decline in biodiversity have increased the interest in alternative forest management approaches. Uneven-aged silviculture has been proposed as a mean to maintain continuity of forest canopy cover, mimic small-scale disturbances and provide a stratified forest structure similar to that of old-growth forests and therefore better maintain species associated with unmanaged forest. We used a large-scale chronosequence study spanning 50 years to study beetle diversity in uneven-aged silviculture compared with both short-term impacts and the longer-term legacy of even-aged silviculture. We compared: (1) even-aged recently clear-felled stand, (2) even-aged recently thinned stand, (3) uneven-aged stands subjected to selective felling with (4) uneven-aged reference stands to evaluate whether abundance, species richness and composition of beetles (Coleoptera) were affected differently by even-aged than by uneven-aged management. We collected 15,147 beetles from 461 species using flight interception traps in 30 stands. Beetle composition was maintained in uneven-aged managed stands; composition did not differ from unmanaged reference stands, the exception being cambium consumers. Both even-aged silviculture treatments (clear-felling and thinning) had different beetle composition compared to the reference stands, indicating that assemblages had yet to recover even 50 years into the rotation. However, beetle composition did not differ between uneven-aged managed and thinned stands. The result supports our prediction that uneven-aged silviculture better maintains beetles assemblages associated with semi-natural mature forest than even-aged silviculture. The greater temporal continuity in selectively felled stands could benefit species dependent of mature or old growth forest since some of the needed habitat qualities are continuously available. Uneven-aged silviculture could therefore serve as an important tool for landscape planning to benefit biodiversity and thus help fulfil environmental commitments. However, uneven-aged silviculture may still alter the forest and should therefore be viewed as an alternative to even-aged silviculture, rather than to set-asides.


Selective felling; Single-tree selection; Biodiversity; Uneven-aged silviculture; Coleoptera; Boreal forest

Published in

Forest Ecology and Management
2017, Volume: 391, pages: 436-445
Publisher: Elsevier