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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2016

How climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies can threaten or enhance the biodiversity of production forests: Insights from Sweden

Felton, Adam; Gustafsson, Lena; Roberge, Jean-Michel; Ranius, Thomas; Hjältén, Joakim; Rudolphi, Jörgen; Lindbladh, Matts; Weslien, Jan; Rist, Lucy; Brunet, Jörg; Felton, Annika

Abstract

Anthropogenic climate change is altering the management of production forests. These changes are motivated by the need to adapt to the uncertainties and risks of climate change, and by the need to enlist their carbon storage and sequestration capacity as part of global mitigation efforts. These changes do however raise concerns regarding the potential implications for forest biodiversity. Here we evaluate these concerns by assessing the biodiversity implications of climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies (CCAMS) being implemented in the production forests of Sweden. We do so by identifying biodiversity goals aimed specifically at closing the existing gap between the habitat requirements of forest-dependent species, and the conditions provided by production forests, in terms of tree species composition, forest structures, and spatio-temporal forest patterns. We then use the existing literature to determine whether and by which pathway each CCAMS is likely to bridge or extend this gap. Our results indicate that CCAMS will often come into direct or partial conflict with Swedish biodiversity goals in production forests. Furthermore, some CCAMS which are inconsistent with biodiversity goals, such as logging residue removal, are being implemented more extensively than those which were most consistent with biodiversity goals. We nevertheless challenge the necessity of setting the preservation of forest biodiversity against climate change mitigation and adaptation. We clarify how CCAMS with negative biodiversity implications may still be implemented without adverse outcomes, if coupled with conservation interventions, or combined with other CCAMS deemed complementary in habitat provision. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords

Biological conservation; Ecosystem services; Global warming; Picea abies; Planted forest; Sustainable forest management

Published in

Biological Conservation
2016, Volume: 194, pages: 11-20