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Restoring volume, diversity and continuity of deadwood in boreal forests

Hekkala, Anne-Maarit; Ahtikoski, Anssi; Paatalo, Marja-Leena; Tarvainen, Oili; Siipilehto, Jouni; Tolvanen, Anne


Restoration of boreal forests by emulating natural disturbances is used to bring back typical components of natural forests that are reduced by silvicultural management. The volume, diversity and continuity of deadwood are the most important factors determining the diversity of deadwood-dependent species. In a large-scale experiment consisting of 43 experimental stands and 15 controls we assessed how alternative restoration methods enhancing deadwood availability (felling and felling + burning with two levels of felling: 20 and 40 % of initial volume of living trees, and a storm treatment) would affect short-and long-term deadwood volume and diversity using 7-year deadwood measurements and simulation modelling. In short-term, restoration by felling + burning increased both the volume and diversity of deadwood, whereas felling only increased merely the volume of deadwood. The simulations of tree growth, mortality and wood decomposition indicated that in comparison to controls, felled and storm-treated stands have greater deadwood volumes up to 40 years and felled + burned stands more than 60 years after restoration. Our results suggest that felling with 20 % of initial tree volume does not harm the future deadwood continuity, whereas intensive burning may imperil the deadwood continuity in a stand level. In conclusion, restoration clearly speeds up the development of the deadwood volumes needed to host large portions of biodiversity, and burning is the most effective restoration method in short- and long term. In practice, several restoration methods could be used concurrently in the landscape to obtain the best results.


Burning; CWD; Decomposition; Disturbance; Deadwood enrichment; Simulation

Published in

Biodiversity and Conservation
2016, Volume: 25, number: 6, pages: 1107-1132
Publisher: SPRINGER

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG15 Life on land

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