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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2018

Landscape Planning-Paving the Way for Effective Conservation of Forest Biodiversity and a Diverse Forestry?

Michanek, Gabriel; Bostedt, Goran; Ekvall, Hans; Forsberg, Maria; Hof, Anouschka R.; de Jong, Johnny; Rudolphi, Jorgen; Zabel, Astrid

Abstract

Globally, intensive forestry has led to habitat degradation and fragmentation of the forest landscape. Taking Sweden as an example, this development is contradictory to international commitments, EU obligations, and to the fulfillment of the Parliament's environmental quality objective "Living Forests", which according to Naturvardsverket (The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency) will not be achieved in 2020 as stipulated. One important reason for the implementation deficit is the fragmented forestry management. In a forest landscape, felling and other measures are conducted at different times on separate forest stands (often relatively small units) by different operators. Consequently, the authorities take case by case decisions on felling restrictions for conservation purposes. In contrast, conservation biology research indicates a need for a broad geographical and strategical approach in order to, in good time, select the most appropriate habitats for conservation and to provide for a functioning connectivity between different habitats. In line with the EU Commission, we argue that landscape forestry planning could be a useful instrument to achieve ecological functionality in a large area. Landscape planning may also contribute to the fulfilment of Sweden's climate and energy policy, by indicating forest areas with insignificant conservation values, where intensive forestry may be performed for biomass production etc. Forest owners should be involved in the planning and would, under certain circumstances, be entitled to compensation. As state resources for providing compensation are scarce, an alternative could be to introduce a tax-fund system within the forestry sector. Such a system may open for voluntary agreements between forest owners for the protection of habitats within a large area.

Keywords

biodiversity; boreal forest; landscape planning; fragmentation; habitat protection; habitats directive; birds directive; Aichi targets; compensation; tax-fund

Published in

Forests
2018, Volume: 9, number: 9, article number: 523
Publisher: MDPI