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Impact of Forest Management on Species Richness: Global Meta-Analysis and Economic Trade-Offs

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Chaudhary A Burivalova Z Koh LP Hellweg S,
Project Life Cycle Management of wood in Switzerland: methods, tools and environmental decision support
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group)
Volume (Issue) 6
Page(s) open
Title of proceedings Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group)
DOI 10.1038/srep23954

Open Access

Type of Open Access Website


Forests managed for timber have an important role to play in conserving global biodiversity because strictly protected areas where all extractive activities are prohibited are simply insufficient to achieve global biodiversity conservation goals. We evaluated the most common timber production systems worldwide in terms of their impact on local species richness by conducting a categorical meta-analysis. We reviewed 287 published studies containing 1008 pairwise comparisons of species richness in managed and unmanaged forests and derived management, taxon, and continent specific effect sizes. We show that in terms of local species richness loss, forest management types can be ranked, from best to worse, as follows: selection and retention systems, reduced impact logging, conventional selective logging, clear-cutting, agroforestry, timber plantation, fuelwood and pulp plantations. Using our results, we calculated the number of species lost per million$ income generated in 10 equally sized, hypothetical wood23 producing Forest Management Units (FMU) from around the globe. We conclude that it would be erroneous to dismiss or prioritize timber production regimes, based solely on their ranking of alpha diversity impacts. One has to consider the impacts on biodiversity at a larger scale and in combination with a quantitative economic assessment of different forest land use options.