There is a growing demand for alternatives to Sweden's current dominant silvicultural system, driven by a desire to raise biomass production, meet environmental goals and mitigate climate change. However, moving towards diversified forest management that deviates from well established silvicultural practices carries many uncertainties and risks. Adaptive management is often suggested as an effective means of managing in the context of such complexities. Yet there has been scepticism over its appropriateness in cases characterised by large spatial extents, extended temporal scales and complex land ownership-characteristics typical of Swedish forestry. Drawing on published research, including a new paradigm for adaptive management, we indicate how common pitfalls can be avoided during implementation. We indicate the investment, infrastructure, and considerations necessary to benefit from adaptive management. In doing so, we show how this approach could offer a pragmatic operational model for managing the uncertainties, risks and obstacles associated with new silvicultural systems and the challenges facing Swedish forestry.
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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.