Predicting valuable forest habitats using an indicator species for biodiversity

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Björklund , H , Parkkinen , A , Hakkari , T , Heikkinen , R K , Virkkala , R & Lensu , A 2020 , ' Predicting valuable forest habitats using an indicator species for biodiversity ' , Biological Conservation , vol. 249 , 108682 .

Title: Predicting valuable forest habitats using an indicator species for biodiversity
Author: Björklund, Heidi; Parkkinen, Anssi; Hakkari, Tomi; Heikkinen, Risto K; Virkkala, Raimo; Lensu, Anssi
Contributor organization: Zoology
Date: 2020-09
Language: eng
Number of pages: 10
Belongs to series: Biological Conservation
ISSN: 0006-3207
Abstract: Intensive management of boreal forests impairs forest biodiversity and species of old-growth forest. Effective measures to support biodiversity require detection of locations valuable for conservation. We applied species distribution models (SDMs) to a species of mature forest, the northern goshawk (Accipiter gentilis, goshawk), that is often associated with hotspots of forest biodiversity. We located optimal sites for the goshawk on a landscape scale, assessed their state under intensified logging operations and identified characteristics of goshawks' nesting sites in boreal forests. Optimal sites for the goshawk covered only 3.4% of the boreal landscape and were mostly located outside protected areas, which highlights the importance of conservation actions in privately-owned forests. Furthermore, optimal sites for the goshawk and associated biodiversity were under threat. Half of them were logged to some extent and 10% were already lost or notably deteriorated due to logging shortly after 2015 for which our models were calibrated. Habitat suitability for the goshawk increased with increasing volume of Norway spruce (Picea abies) peaking at 220 m(3) ha(-1), and with small quantities of birches (Betula spp.) and other broad-leaved trees. Threats to biodiversity of mature spruce forests are likely to accelerate in the future with increasing logging pressures and shorter rotation periods. Logging should be directed less to forests with high biodiversity. Continuous supply of mature spruce forests in the landscape should be secured with a denser network of protected areas and measures that aid in sparing large entities of mature forest on privately-owned land.
Accipiter gentilis
Forest management
Northern goshawk
Species distribution modelling
1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Peer reviewed: Yes
Rights: cc_by_nc_nd
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: publishedVersion
Funder: Ympäristöministeriö

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