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Research article2021Peer reviewedOpen access

Multi-taxon conservation in northern forest hot-spots: the role of forest characteristics and spatial scales

Karvemo, Simon; Jonsson, Mari; Hekkala, Anne-Maarit; Sjogren, Jorgen; Strengbom, Joachim


Context Biodiversity is highly affected by industrial forestry, which leads to the loss and fragmentation of natural habitats. To date, most conservation studies have evaluated associations among a single species group, forest type, or spatial scale. Objective The objective was to evaluate the richness of multiple species groups across various forest types and characteristics at multiple scales. Methods We used the occurrence data for 277 species of conservation interest from 455 stands of high conservation value, including four species groups and four forest types. Results Local, landscape, and regional forest characteristics influenced biodiversity in a non-uniform pattern among species groups and forest types. For example, an increased local spruce basal area in spruce forests was associated with higher vascular plant and bryophyte richness values, whereas macrofungi and lichen richness were positively correlated with deadwood availability, but negatively correlated with the spruce volume in the landscape. Furthermore, landscapes with twice as much mature forest as the average, had more than 50% higher richness values for vascular plants, macrofungi, and lichens. Conclusion Among sessile species groups in northern forests, a uniform conservation strategy across forest types and scales is suboptimal. A multi-faceted strategy that acknowledges differences among species groups and forest types with tailored measures to promote richness is likely to be more successful. Nevertheless, the single most common measure associated with high richness across the species groups and forest types was mature forest in the landscape, which suggests that increasing old forests in the landscape is a beneficial conservation strategy.


Biodiversity; Bryophytes; Lichens; Macrofungi; Vascular plants; Woodland key habitats

Published in

Landscape Ecology
2021, Volume: 36, number: 4, pages: 989-1002 Publisher: SPRINGER