Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2018

Modified forest rotation lengths: Long-term effects on landscape-scale habitat availability for specialized species

Roberge, Jean-Michel; Ohman, Karin; Lamas, Tomas; Felton, Adam; Ranius, Thomas; Lundmark, Tomas; Nordin, Annika


We evaluated the long-term implications from modifying rotation lengths in production forests for four forest-reliant species with different habitat requirements. By combining simulations of forest development with habitat models, and accounting both for stand and landscape scale influences, we projected habitat availability over 150 years in a large Swedish landscape, using rotation lengths which are longer (+22% and +50%) and shorter (-22%) compared to current practices. In terms of mean habitat availability through time, species requiring older forest were affected positively by extended rotations, and negatively by shortened rotations. For example, the mean habitat area for the treecreeper Certhia familiaris (a bird preferring forest with larger trees) increased by 31% when rotations were increased by 22%, at a 5% cost to net present value (NPV) and a 7% decrease in harvested volume. Extending rotation lengths by 50% provided more habitat for this species compared to a 22% extension, but at a much higher marginal cost. In contrast, the beetle Hadreule elongatula, which is dependent on sun-exposed dead wood, benefited from shortened rather than prolonged rotations. Due to an uneven distribution of stand-ages within the landscape, the relative amounts of habitat provided by different rotation length scenarios for a given species were not always consistent through time during the simulation period. If implemented as a conservation measure, prolonging rotations will require long-term strategic planning to avoid future bottlenecks in habitat availability, and will need to be accompanied by complementary measures accounting for the diversity of habitats necessary for the conservation of forest biodiversity. (C) 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Aegithalos caudatus; Certhia familiaris; Forest age; Forest rotation; Hadreule elongatula; Tetrastes bonasia

Published in

Journal of Environmental Management
2018, Volume: 210, pages: 1-9