Projects per year
The boreal region is facing intensifying resource extraction pressure, but the lack of comprehensive biodiversity data makes operative forest conservation planning difficult. Many countries have implemented forest inventory schemes and are making extensive and up-to-date forest databases increasingly available. Some of the more detailed inventory databases, however, remain proprietary and unavailable for conservation planning. Here, we investigate how well different open and proprietary forest inventory data sets suit the purpose of conservation prioritization in Finland. We also explore how much priorities are affected by using the less accurate but open data. First, we construct a set of indices for forest conservation value based on quantitative information commonly found in forest inventories. These include the maturity of the trees, tree species composition, and site fertility. Secondly, using these data and accounting for connectivity between forest types, we investigate the patterns in conservation priority. For prioritization, we use Zonation, a method and software for spatial conservation prioritization. We then validate the prioritizations by comparing them to known areas of high conservation value. We show that the overall priority patterns are relatively consistent across different data sources and analysis options. However, the coarse data cannot be used to accurately identify the high-priority areas as it misses much of the fine-scale variation in forest structures. We conclude that, while inventory data collected for forestry purposes may be useful for forest conservation purposes, it needs to be detailed enough to be able to account for more fine-scaled features of high conservation value. These results underline the importance of making detailed inventory data publicly available. Finally, we discuss how the prioritization methodology we used could be integrated into operative forest management, especially in countries in the boreal zone.
Fields of Science
- 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
- 1172 Environmental sciences
- 1 Finished