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BIONÆR-Bionæringsprogram

EcoForest - Forestry effects on biodiversity, carbon stocks and ecological processes in mature boreal forests

Alternative title: Effekter av skogbruk på biodiversitet, karbonlagre og økologiske prosesses i eldre skog

Awarded: NOK 31.6 mill.

Boreal forests store major parts of terrestrial carbon pools and house an extensive biodiversity, mediating various ecosystem processes, including carbon sequestration. In Norway, boreal forests have been affected by forestry for hundreds of years and only a small portion of the forests can be considered as natural forests. A high number of endangered species are associated with natural forests. In the ?EcoForest? project, we will assess the effects of current stand-based forest management practices on species richness and genetic diversity, carbon stocks and dynamics, and processes linking these. To address these effects of forestry, we will compare 15 paired plots of near-natural forests, not impacted by clear-cutting, with mature stands that have been through one cycle of clear-cutting. The forests will be compared with respect to: forest structure, carbon sequestration, community diversity, genetic diversity and biodiversity functions. Clear-cutting is by far the dominant harvesting method in Norway, but continuous cover forestry (CCF) may become more widespread in the future. Therefore, another aim of the project is to initiate a long-term experiment, where we will assess the effects of clear-cutting versus CCF on carbon sequestration and forest biodiversity. Research will be conducted in close collaboration with partners from the forestry industry, environmental organizations and other stakeholders. EcoForest will establish a platform that enables open and direct communication of research findings between forestry and environmental organizations to evaluate management guidelines that support biodiversity and C storage in forested ecosystems. EcoForest will provide a comprehensive overview on how forestry practices influence forest biodiversity, carbon pools and ecological processes, and will provide important knowledge for future sustainable forest management practices and climate mitigation strategies.

Boreal forests store major parts of terrestrial carbon pools and house an extensive biodiversity, mediating various ecosystem processes, including carbon sequestration. In Norway, only a small portion of the boreal forests can be considered as natural forests, as forestry practices of various intensities have been carried out for centuries. A high number of threatened species are associated with natural forests. In the EcoForest project, we will assess the long-term effects of clear-cutting on species richness and genetic diversity, carbon stocks and dynamics, and processes linking these. We will use a paired plot approach comparing 15 stands from near-natural forests which have not been impacted by clear-cutting, with mature stands that have been through one cycle of clear-cutting. The focus will be on evaluating and quantifying differences in forest structure (Work Package 1; WP1), carbon sequestration (WP2), community diversity (WP3), genetic diversity (WP4) and biodiversity functions (WP5). Clear-cutting (CC) is by far the dominant harvesting method in Norway, whereas continuous cover forestry (CCF) may become more widespread in the future. Thus, we will initiate a long-term experiment to assess effects of CC versus CCF and undisturbed control on carbon sequestration and forest biodiversity (WP6). Research will be conducted in close collaboration with partners from the forestry industry, environmental organizations and other stakeholders. The project will establish a platform that enables open and direct communication of research findings between forestry and environmental organizations to evaluate management guidelines that support biodiversity and C storage in forested ecosystems (WP7). EcoForest will provide a comprehensive overview on how forestry practices influence forest biodiversity, carbon dynamics and ecological processes, and will provide important knowledge for future sustainable forest management practices and climate mitigation strategies.

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BIONÆR-Bionæringsprogram