Forest History and the Development of Old-Growth Characteristics in Fragmented Boreal Forests. Jönsson, M. T., Fraver, S., & Jonsson, B. G. 20(1):91–106.
Forest History and the Development of Old-Growth Characteristics in Fragmented Boreal Forests [link]Paper  doi  abstract   bibtex   
[Questions] Can small and isolated high-conservation value forests (e.g. designated woodland key habitats) maintain old-growth forest characteristics and functionality in fragmented landscapes? To what extent have past disturbances (natural and anthropogenic) influenced the development of old-growth characteristics of these forests? How long does it take for selectively cut stands to attain conditions resembling old-growth forests? [Location] Southern boreal zone of central Sweden. [Methods] We linked multiple lines of evidence from historical records, biological archives, and analyses of current forest structure to reconstruct the forest history of a boreal landscape, with special emphasis on six remaining core localities of high-conservation value forest stands. [Results] Our reconstructions revealed that several of these stands experienced wildfires up to the 1890s; all had been selectively harvested in the late 1800s; and all underwent substantial structural and compositional reorganization over the following 100-150 years. This time interval was sufficient to recover considerable amounts of standing and downed dead wood (mean 60.3 m3 ha-1), a range of tree ages and sizes (mean basal area 32.6 m2 ha-1), and dominance of shade-tolerant spruce. It was insufficient to obtain clearly uneven tree age structures and large ($>$45 cm diameter) living and dead trees. Thus, these forests contain some, but not all, important compositional and structural attributes of old-growth forests, their abundance being dependent on the timing and magnitude of past natural and anthropogenic disturbances. Our landscape-level analysis showed marked compositional and structural differences between the historical forest landscape and the present landscape, with the latter having a greater proportion of young forests, introduction of non-native species, and lack of large trees and dead wood. [Conclusions] The remnant high-conservation value stands were not true representatives of the pre-industrial forests, but represent the last vestige of forests that have regenerated naturally and maintained a continuous tree cover. These traits, coupled with their capacity for old-growth recovery, make them valuable focal areas for conservation.
@article{jonssonForestHistoryDevelopment2009,
  title = {Forest History and the Development of Old-Growth Characteristics in Fragmented Boreal Forests},
  author = {Jönsson, Mari T. and Fraver, Shawn and Jonsson, Bengt G.},
  date = {2009-02},
  journaltitle = {Journal of Vegetation Science},
  volume = {20},
  pages = {91--106},
  issn = {1100-9233},
  doi = {10.1111/j.1654-1103.2009.05394.x},
  url = {http://mfkp.org/INRMM/article/13706923},
  abstract = {[Questions] Can small and isolated high-conservation value forests (e.g. designated woodland key habitats) maintain old-growth forest characteristics and functionality in fragmented landscapes? To what extent have past disturbances (natural and anthropogenic) influenced the development of old-growth characteristics of these forests? How long does it take for selectively cut stands to attain conditions resembling old-growth forests?

[Location] Southern boreal zone of central Sweden.

[Methods] We linked multiple lines of evidence from historical records, biological archives, and analyses of current forest structure to reconstruct the forest history of a boreal landscape, with special emphasis on six remaining core localities of high-conservation value forest stands.

[Results] Our reconstructions revealed that several of these stands experienced wildfires up to the 1890s; all had been selectively harvested in the late 1800s; and all underwent substantial structural and compositional reorganization over the following 100-150 years. This time interval was sufficient to recover considerable amounts of standing and downed dead wood (mean 60.3 m3 ha-1), a range of tree ages and sizes (mean basal area 32.6 m2 ha-1), and dominance of shade-tolerant spruce. It was insufficient to obtain clearly uneven tree age structures and large ({$>$}45 cm diameter) living and dead trees. Thus, these forests contain some, but not all, important compositional and structural attributes of old-growth forests, their abundance being dependent on the timing and magnitude of past natural and anthropogenic disturbances. Our landscape-level analysis showed marked compositional and structural differences between the historical forest landscape and the present landscape, with the latter having a greater proportion of young forests, introduction of non-native species, and lack of large trees and dead wood.

[Conclusions] The remnant high-conservation value stands were not true representatives of the pre-industrial forests, but represent the last vestige of forests that have regenerated naturally and maintained a continuous tree cover. These traits, coupled with their capacity for old-growth recovery, make them valuable focal areas for conservation.},
  keywords = {*imported-from-citeulike-INRMM,~INRMM-MiD:c-13706923,~to-add-doi-URL,boreal-forests,conservation,forest-resources,fragmentation,sweden},
  number = {1}
}
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