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Guntis Brumelis (email), Bengt Gunnar Jonsson, Jari Kouki, Timo Kuuluvainen, Ekaterina Shorohova

Forest naturalness in northern Europe: perspectives on processes, structures and species diversity

Brumelis G., Jonsson B.G., Kouki J., Kuuluvainen T., Shorohova E. (2011). Forest naturalness in northern Europe: perspectives on processes, structures and species diversity. Silva Fennica vol. 45 no. 5 article id 446. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.446

Abstract

Saving the remaining natural forests in northern Europe has been one of the main goals to halt the ongoing decline of forest biodiversity. To facilitate the recognition, mapping and efficient conservation of natural forests, there is an urgent need for a general formulation, based on ecological patterns and processes, of the concept of “forest naturalness”. However, complexity, structural idiosyncracy and dynamical features of unmanaged forest ecosystems at various spatio-temporal scales pose major challenges for such a formulation. The definitions hitherto used for the concept of forest naturalness can be fruitfully grouped into three dimensions: 1) structure-based concepts of natural forest, 2) species-based concepts of natural forest and 3) process-based concepts of natural forest. We propose that explicit and simultaneous consideration of all these three dimensions of naturalness can better cope with the natural variability of forest states and also aid in developing strategies for forest conservation and management in different situations. To become operational, criteria and indicators of forest naturalness need to integrate the three dimensions by combining species (e.g. red-listed-, indicator- and umbrella species) with stand and landscape level structural features that are indicative of disturbance and succession processes.

Keywords
natural forest; dead wood; biological diversity; disturbances

Author Info
  • Brumelis, Faculty of Biology, University of Latvia, Kronvalda bulv. 4, Riga, LV-1586, Latvia; ORCID ID:E-mail guntis.brumelis@lu.lv (email)
  • Jonsson, Department of Natural Sciences, Engineering and Mathematics, Mid Sweden University, Sundsvall, Sweden ORCID ID:
  • Kouki, School of Forest Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu, Joensuu ORCID ID:
  • Kuuluvainen, Department of Forest Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland ORCID ID:
  • Shorohova, Saint-Petersburg State Forest Academy, Saint-Petersburg, Russia & Finnish Forest Research Institute, Vantaa Research Unit, Vantaa, Finland ORCID ID:

Received 17 November 2010 Accepted 3 November 2011 Published 31 December 2011

Available at https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.446 | Download PDF

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