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Research article2013Peer reviewedOpen access

Linking forest management, policy and biodiversity indicators - A comparison of Lithuania and Southern Sweden

Brukas, Vilis; Felton, Adam; Lindbladh, Matts; Sallnäs, Ola


Lithuania and Southern Sweden share similar natural conditions, but differ considerably in forest policies and management; thereby providing an opportune basis for comparative studies. Since the 1990s, Sweden has attempted to reduce the negative impact of its forest management on biodiversity, after decades of intensive production forestry. In contrast, Lithuania has been intensifying forestry practices associated with the post-soviet socio-economic transition. Here we assess the actual outcomes by comparing selected forest structure and composition variables known to be indicators for forest biodiversity; and estimate the prospective trends by scrutinising current forest policies and management. Our results indicate that Lithuanian forests consistently possessed higher rankings in six indices related to tree species composition, stand age, and deadwood quantities that are positively associated with forest biodiversity. The reverse is indicated by those data on stand age and tree diameter that are associated with centennial dynamics in forest utilisation intensity. With respect to policy instruments, Lithuania designates a substantially greater share of forest area to non-timber functions and legislates more severe management restrictions in forests targeting timber production. Concurrently, all estimates of forestry activities indicate more intensive forest management in Southern Sweden, including a higher share of artificial regeneration and shorter rotations. This allows concluding that, if current forest management practices persist, then an increased “biodiversity gap” may be expected between the two countries. The study concludes with discussing to what degree the identified trends are the direct product of targeted policies versus merely by-products of other factors.


Lithuania; segregative management; integrative management; Götaland,; policy instruments; national forest inventory; structural indicators

Published in

Forest Ecology and Management
2013, Volume: 291, pages: 181-189
Publisher: Elsevier