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Forest history and the development of old-growth characteristics in fragmented boreal forests
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Natural Sciences, Engineering and Mathematics. (Skoglig mångfald)
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Natural Sciences, Engineering and Mathematics. (Skoglig mångfald)
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Natural Sciences, Engineering and Mathematics. (Skoglig mångfald)
2009 (English)In: Journal of Vegetation Science, ISSN 1100-9233, E-ISSN 1654-1103, Vol. 20, no 1, 91-106 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Questions: Can small and isolated high-conservation value forests (e.g. designated woodland key habitats) maintain old-growth forest characteristics and functionality in fragmented landscapes? To what extent have past disturbances (natural and anthropogenic) influenced the development of old-growth characteristics of these forests? How long does it take for selectively cut stands to attain conditions resembling old-growth forests?

 

Location: Southern boreal zone of central Sweden.

 

Methods: We linked multiple lines of evidence from historical records, biological archives, and analyses of current forest structure to reconstruct the forest history of a boreal landscape, with special emphasis on six remaining core localities of high-conservation value forest stands.

 

Results: Our reconstructions revealed that several of these stands experienced wildfires up to the 1890s; all had been selectively harvested in the late 1800s; and all underwent substantial structural and compositional reorganization over the following 100-150 years. This time interval was sufficient to recover considerable amounts of standing and downed dead wood (mean 60.3 m3 ha−1), a range of tree ages and sizes (mean basal area 32.6 m2 ha−1), and dominance of shade-tolerant spruce. It was insufficient to obtain clearly uneven tree age structures and large (>45 cm diameter) living and dead trees. Thus, these forests contain some, but not all, important compositional and structural attributes of old-growth forests, their abundance being dependent on the timing and magnitude of past natural and anthropogenic disturbances. Our landscape-level analysis showed marked compositional and structural differences between the historical forest landscape and the present landscape, with the latter having a greater proportion of young forests, introduction of non-native species, and lack of large trees and dead wood.

 

Conclusions: The remnant high-conservation value stands were not true representatives of the pre-industrial forests, but represent the last vestige of forests that have regenerated naturally and maintained a continuous tree cover. These traits, coupled with their capacity for old-growth recovery, make them valuable focal areas for conservation.

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 20, no 1, 91-106 p.
Keyword [en]
Coarse Woody Debris • Dendrochronology • Fire Ecology • Historical Records • Land-Use History • Picea Abies • Southern Boreal Zone • Stand Dynamics • Stand Reconstruction • Sweden • Woodland Key Habitats
National Category
Ecology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-7692DOI: 10.1111/j.1654-1103.2009.05394.xISI: 000263701500011Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-70249110379OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-7692DiVA: diva2:127987
Available from: 2008-12-11 Created: 2008-12-11 Last updated: 2016-09-26Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. The importance of small forest set-asides for saproxylic biodiversity at stand- landscape- and regional scales
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The importance of small forest set-asides for saproxylic biodiversity at stand- landscape- and regional scales
2007 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sundsvall: Mittuniversitetet, 2007. 29 p.
Series
Mid Sweden University doctoral thesis, ISSN 1652-893X ; 32
Keyword
boreal forest, colonization-extinction dynamics, dendrochronology, dead-wood dynamics, disturbance dynamics, forest history, fragmentation, metapopulations, national inventories, old-growth forest, picea abies, saproxylic species, set asides, spatiotemporal dynamics, stand reconstructions, tree mortality, woody debris, wood-decaying fungi, woodland key habitats
National Category
Biological Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-8896 (URN)978-91-85317-65-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
(English)
Available from: 2009-05-06 Created: 2009-05-06 Last updated: 2009-07-16Bibliographically approved

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