Young and old forest in the boreal : critical stages of ecosystem dynamics and management under global change

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Kuuluvainen , T & Gauthier , S 2018 , ' Young and old forest in the boreal : critical stages of ecosystem dynamics and management under global change ' , Forest Ecosystems , vol. 5 , 26 . https://doi.org/10.1186/s40663-018-0142-2

Title: Young and old forest in the boreal : critical stages of ecosystem dynamics and management under global change
Author: Kuuluvainen, Timo; Gauthier, Sylvie
Contributor organization: Department of Forest Sciences
Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS)
Boreal forest dynamics and biodiversity research group
Doctoral Programme in Sustainable Use of Renewable Natural Resources
Forest Ecology and Management
Forest Economics, Business and Society
Date: 2018-06-13
Language: eng
Number of pages: 15
Belongs to series: Forest Ecosystems
ISSN: 2095-6355
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s40663-018-0142-2
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/239253
Abstract: The circumboreal forest encompasses diverse landscape structures, dynamics and forest age distributions determined by their physical setting, and historical and current disturbance regimes. However, due to intensifying forest utilisation, and in certain areas due to increasing natural disturbances, boreal forest age-class structures have changed rapidly, so that the proportion of old forest has substantially declined, while that of young post-harvest and post-natural-disturbance forest proportions have increased. In the future, with a warming climate in certain boreal regions, this trend may further be enhanced due to an increase in natural disturbances and large-scale use of forest biomass to replace fossil-based fuels and products. The major drivers of change of forest age class distributions and structures include the use of clearcut short-rotation harvesting, more frequent and severe natural disturbances due to climate warming in certain regions. The decline in old forest area, and increase in managed young forest lacking natural post-disturbance structural legacies, represent a major transformation in the ecological conditions of the boreal forest beyond historical limits of variability. This may introduce a threat to biodiversity, ecosystem resilience and long-term adaptive capacity of the forest ecosystem. To safeguard boreal forest biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, and to maintain the multiple services provided to societies by this forest biome, it is pivotal to maintain an adequate share and the ecological qualities of young post-disturbance stages, along with mature forest stages with old-growth characteristics. This requires management for natural post-disturbance legacy structures, and innovative use of diverse uneven-aged and continuous cover management approaches to maintain critical late-successional forest structures in landscapes.
Subject: Adaptive capacity
Biodiversity
Boreal forest
Climate change
Forestry
Ecosystem services
Forest dynamics
Forest management
Resilience
CLIMATE-CHANGE
BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION
TREE MORTALITY
EASTERN CANADA
FIRE-FREQUENCY
NATURAL DISTURBANCES
NORTHERN EUROPE
GROWTH FORESTS
CENTRAL QUEBEC
LONG-TERM
4112 Forestry
Peer reviewed: Yes
Rights: cc_by
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: publishedVersion


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