Continuous-cover forestry (CCF) has been recognized for the production of multiple ecosystem services, and is seen as an alternative to clear-cut forestry (CF). Despite the increasing interest, it is still not well described how CCF would affect the carbon balance and the resulting climate benefit from the forest in relation to CF. This study compares carbon balances of CF and CCF, applied as two alternative land-use strategies for a heterogeneous Norway spruce (Picea abies) stand. We use a set of models to analyze the long-term effects of different forest management and wood use strategies in Sweden on carbon dioxide emissions and carbon stock changes. The results show that biomass growth and yield is more important than the choice of silvicultural system per se. When comparing CF and CCF assuming similar growth, extraction and product use, only minor differences in long-term climate benefit were found between the two principally different silvicultural systems.
Cites: New Phytol. 2007;173(3):463-8017244042
Cites: Science. 2008 Jun 13;320(5882):1456-718556550
Plant growth in northern forest ecosystems is considered to be primarily nitrogen limited. Nitrogen deposition is predicted to change this towards co-limitation/limitation by other nutrients (e.g., phosphorus), although evidence of such stoichiometric effects is scarce. We utilized two forest fertilization experiments in southern Sweden to analyze single and combined effects of nitrogen and phosphorus on the productivity, composition, and diversity of the ground vegetation. Our results indicate that the productivity of forest ground vegetation in southern Sweden is co-limited by nitrogen and phosphorus. Additionally, the combined effect of nitrogen and phosphorus on the productivity was larger than when applied solely. No effects on species richness of any of these two nutrients were observed when applied separately, while applied in combination, they increased species richness and changed species composition, mainly by promoting more mesotrophic species. All these effects, however, occurred only for the vascular plants and not for bryophytes. The tree layer in a forest has a profound impact on the productivity and diversity of the ground vegetation by competing for both light and nutrients. This was confirmed in our study where a combination of nitrogen and high tree basal area reduced cover of the ground vegetation compared to all the other treatments where basal area was lower after stand thinning. During the past decades, nitrogen deposition may have further increased this competition from the trees for phosphorus and gradually reduced ground vegetation diversity. Phosphorus limitation induced by nitrogen deposition may, thus, contribute to ongoing changes in forest ground vegetation.
Whereas there is evidence that mixed-species approaches to production forestry in general can provide positive outcomes relative to monocultures, it is less clear to what extent multiple benefits can be derived from specific mixed-species alternatives. To provide such insights requires evaluations of an encompassing suite of ecosystem services, biodiversity, and forest management considerations provided by specific mixtures and monocultures within a region. Here, we conduct such an assessment in Sweden by contrasting even-aged Norway spruce (Picea abies)-dominated stands, with mixed-species stands of spruce and birch (Betula pendula or B. pubescens), or spruce and Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris). By synthesizing the available evidence, we identify positive outcomes from mixtures including increased biodiversity, water quality, esthetic and recreational values, as well as reduced stand vulnerability to pest and pathogen damage. However, some uncertainties and risks were projected to increase, highlighting the importance of conducting comprehensive interdisciplinary evaluations when assessing the pros and cons of mixtures.
The rotation length is a key component of even-aged forest management systems. Using Fennoscandian forestry as a case, we review the socio-ecological implications of modifying rotation lengths relative to current practice by evaluating effects on a range of ecosystem services and on biodiversity conservation. The effects of shortening rotations on provisioning services are expected to be mostly negative to neutral (e.g. production of wood, bilberries, reindeer forage), while those of extending rotations would be more varied. Shortening rotations may help limit damage by some of today's major damaging agents (e.g. root rot, cambium-feeding insects), but may also increase other damage types (e.g. regeneration pests) and impede climate mitigation. Supporting (water, soil nutrients) and cultural (aesthetics, cultural heritage) ecosystem services would generally be affected negatively by shortened rotations and positively by extended rotations, as would most biodiversity indicators. Several effect modifiers, such as changes to thinning regimes, could alter these patterns.
Cites: Ambio. 2009 Nov;38(7):373-8019943393
Cites: J Environ Manage. 2014 Feb 15;134:80-924463852
Cites: Ambio. 2010 Jun;39(4):269-7820799676
Cites: Environ Sci Technol. 2009 Nov 15;43(22):8535-4120028048