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Research article2020Peer reviewedOpen access

Forest Biodiversity, Carbon Sequestration, and Wood Production: Modeling Synergies and Trade-Offs for Ten Forest Landscapes Across Europe

Biber, Peter; Felton, Adam; Nieuwenhuis, Maarten; Lindbladh, Matts; Black, Kevin; Bahyl, Jan; Bingol, Ozkan; Borges, Jose G.; Botequim, Brigite; Brukas, Vilis; Bugalho, Miguel N.; Corradini, Giulia; Eriksson, Ljusk Ola; Forsell, Nicklas; Hengeveld, Geerten M.; Hoogstra-Klein, Marjanke A.; Kadiogullari, Ali Ihsan; Karahalil, Uzay; Lodin, Isak; Lundholm, Anders; Makrickiene, Ekaterina; Masiero, Mauro; Mozgeris, Gintautas; Pivoriunas, Nerijus; Poschenrieder, Werner; Pretzsch, Hans; Sedmak, Robert; Tucek, Jan
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Europe's forests provide vital habitat for biodiversity and essential ecosystem services whose provision must be sustained or enhanced over the coming century. However, the potential to secure or increase forest ecosystem services, while securing the habitat requirements of taxa remains unclear, especially within the context of uncertain climate and socio-economic developments. To tease out the associated trade-offs and synergies, we used 10 case study landscapes within nine countries throughout Europe. Starting with the current status of the forests in the case study landscapes, we simulated forest development 100 years into the future. Simulations were embedded in three combined climate and socio-economic frame scenarios based on global and European policies which varied in their climate change mitigation efficiency. Scenarios were translated into country specific projections of climate variables, and resultant demands for wood products. Forest management regimes were projected to vary in response to these scenarios at local scales. The specific combinations of alternative forest management practices were based on parallel research and input from local forest stakeholders. For each case study, a specific forest growth simulator was used. In general, the climate scenarios applied did not cause fundamentally different ecosystem service outputs at the case study level. Our results revealed almost no reduction in outcomes for biodiversity indicators with an increase in wood production, and in some cases synergistic results occurred when diversity was actively promoted as part of the management concept. Net carbon uptake was not strongly correlated with biodiversity, indicating that biodiversity-friendly forest management doesn't need to curtail carbon sequestration. Notably, we obtained heterogeneous results for the relation between sustainable wood production and net carbon uptake. Most scenarios resulted in a more or less reduced net carbon uptake over the long term, often due to stand age class distribution shifts. Levels of sustainable wood production varied widely during the simulation period, from significant increases (Sweden, Lithuania) to minor changes (Slovakia, Turkey) and slight decreases (Ireland, Netherlands). We place our results within the larger context of European forest policy and the challenges of simulating and contrasting forest biodiversity and the ecosystem services that societies depend on.


ecosystem services; biodiversity; wood production; carbon sequestration; forest management; sustainability; simulation; Europe

Published in

Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution
2020, Volume: 8, article number: 547696