Best practices in increasing biodiversity in European forests on a landscape scale
Convened by: Gernot Segelbacher, Johannes Penner
Forests harbour substantial parts of biodiversity and are indispensable for life on earth. Areas not influenced by the western world are rare and the vast majority of forested areas are managed for multiple, sometimes contradicting, purposes such as harvesting and recreation. Protected areas are still represented by a small percentage. Therefore, one central conservation measure is to include managed forests in conservation, e.g. by building, establishing or preserving “islands” with special habitats, which are used by species depending on old, mature forests. More precisely this often means creating “islands” with old trees, trees with certain microhabitats (e.g. for insects, birds or bats) and substantial amounts of dead wood in various stages of decay because these are important features for biodiversity. Although such conservation measures are already incorporated in several policies it is rarely tested from a scientific point of view how the policies should be realised. Open questions are for example how these islands should be distributed in the landscape, what is the role of fragmentation (or matrix) in this context or what amounts of thresholds of dead wood are required. Some answers have been collected for certain taxa or areas. However, generalisations are still scarce and just emerging. With the envisioned symposium we would like to bring together results from various studies across central Europe to find general patterns on how retention forestry can contribute to conservation and successfully be implemented in management schemes. Particularly interesting are studies with multi-, inter- or transdisciplinary approaches, i.e. combining for example remote sensing, forestry, ecology, economy and social sciences.