Low-level retention forestry, certification, and biodiversity: case Finland

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Ecological Processes. 2019 Dec 02;8(1):47

Title: Low-level retention forestry, certification, and biodiversity: case Finland
Author: Kuuluvainen, Timo; Lindberg, Henrik; Vanha-Majamaa, Ilkka; Keto-Tokoi, Petri; Punttila, Pekka
Publisher: Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Date: 2019-12-02
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/307972
Abstract: Abstract In managed forests, leaving retention trees during final harvesting has globally become a common approach to reconciling the often conflicting goals of timber production and safeguarding biodiversity and delivery of several ecosystem services. In Finland, the dominant certification scheme requires leaving low levels of retention that can benefit some specific species. However, species responses are dependent on the level of retention and the current low amounts of retention clearly do not provide the habitat quality and continuity needed for declining and red-listed forest species which are dependent on old living trees and coarse woody debris. Several factors contribute to this situation. First, the ecological benefits of the current low retention levels are further diminished by monotonous standwise use of retention, resulting in low variability of retention habitat at the landscape scale. Second, the prevailing timber-oriented management thinking may regard retention trees as an external cost to be minimized, rather than as part of an integrated approach to managing the ecosystem for specific goals. Third, the main obstacles of development may still be institutional and policy-related. The development of retention practices in Finland indicates that the aim has not been to use ecological understanding to attain specific ecological sustainability goals, but rather to define the lowest level of retention that still allows access to the market. We conclude that prevailing retention practices in Finland currently lack ecological credibility in safeguarding biodiversity and they should urgently be developed based on current scientific knowledge to meet ecological sustainability goals.
Subject: Boreal forest
Ecological sustainability
Legacy structure
Forest dynamics
Forest certification
Forest structure
PEFC certification
Rights: The Author(s).

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