Historical perspepctives on landscape representation and forest composition in Woodland Key Habitats compared to formally protected forest in boreal Sweden
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Habitats of Swedish conservation interests are in general small and fragmented following the extensive and intensive forest management history. This study covering 71 000 ha of boreal Sweden investigates how history influences present-day distribution and composition of forests identified as high conservation value habitats and how they are protected. We also investigated if the habitat criteria used to describe reservations differed between reservation types and if habitat criteria were associated with the size of Woodland Key Habitats. The results show strong effects from historical ownership and historical forest type on the probability of an area being set aside as formally protected or as voluntary protected Woodland Key Habitats. We also found that both formal reservations and Woodland Key Habitats primarily cover coniferous forest in the age interval 70-110 years but not the presumably most valuable oldest coniferous category >110 or deciduous forests, which are as common in reservations as in other areas. Old deciduous forests (>110 years) are significantly more rare in formal reservations compared to the forest matrix. When viewed in a context of fragmentation and edge effects the results underline the importance of evaluating reserved areas and Woodland Key Habitats in a wider temporal and larger spatial perspective to optimize conservation management efforts. Maximal representation and biodiversity can be better achieved if new reservations are chosen to represent different ownership and forest history, and if they are selected in a landscape context related to present reservations and the present surrounding production forest.
habitat remnants, forest structure and composition, biodiversity conservation, fragmentation, edge effects, matrix, structural contrast
Research subject Physical Geography
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-51095OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-51095DiVA: diva2:384083