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Review article2020Peer reviewedOpen access

The tree species matters: Biodiversity and ecosystem service implications of replacing Scots pine production stands with Norway spruce

Felton, Adam; Petersson, Lisa; Nilsson, Oscar; Witzell, Johanna; Cleary, Michelle; Felton, Annika M.; Bjorkman, Christer; Sang, Asa Ode; Jonsell, Mats; Holmstrom, Emma; Nilsson, Urban; Ronnberg, Jonas; Kalen, Christer; Lindbladh, Matts


The choice of tree species used in production forests matters for biodiversity and ecosystem services. In Sweden, damage to young production forests by large browsing herbivores is helping to drive a development where sites traditionally regenerated with Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) are instead being regenerated with Norway spruce (Picea abies). We provide a condensed synthesis of the available evidence regarding the likely resultant implications for forest biodiversity and ecosystem services from this change in tree species. Apart from some benefits (e.g. reduced stand-level browsing damage), we identified a range of negative outcomes for biodiversity, production, esthetic and recreational values, as well as increased stand vulnerability to storm, frost, and drought damage, and potentially higher risks of pest and pathogen outbreak. Our results are directly relevant to forest owners and policy-makers seeking information regarding the uncertainties, risks, and trade-offs likely to result from changing the tree species in production forests.


Biological diversity; Climate change; Ecosystem services; Planted forest; Sustainability

Published in

AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment
2020, Volume: 49, pages: 1035–1049
Publisher: SPRINGER