Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Biodiversity in production forests can be improved without large costs

Forest management is based on recommendations that are supposed to maximize economic revenues. However, in 40% of cases a better economic result would be achieved by neglecting some of the recommendations. This would also greatly benefit biodiversity.

These results were obtained by a research group lead by Professor Mikko Mönkkönen at the University Jyväskylä. The group studied a production forest landscape encompassing 68 square kilometers of land and more than 30,000 forest stands in Central Finland.

The research project aimed at revealing the potential of a forest landscape to simultaneously provide habitats for species and produce economic returns.

"Many forest-owners are interested in getting money from harvesting their forests but simultaneously retaining recreational values and habitats for species," says Mikko Mönkkönen. Recently, societies have started paying attention to a variety of goods and benefits people may get from forests. For example, forests capture and store carbon from the atmosphere and thereby counteract climate change caused by human carbon emissions. All in all, it is important to reconcile alternative uses of forests as they are not necessarily in a very strong conflict, as our study shows. Simultaneous consideration and optimization among alternative objectives turned out to be beneficial.

In the study, researchers of biological and environmental science collaborated with researchers of multi-objective decision making from the field of information technology. The team projected forest growth 50 years into the future with alternative management regimes. The management regimes were compared from the point of view of six forest species, such as the capercaillie, hazel grouse, flying squirrel, and two woodpecker species. Also habitats for six groups of dead-wood dependent red-listed species groups were examined. The research aimed at finding economical ways to maintain species habitats in a forest landscape and to reveal an optimal combination of management regimes that would maximize the habitat availability at a given level of economic returns.

Compensating forest owners with the METSO funding

"Achieving an optimal solution requires a combination of management regimes and careful landscape-level planning," says Mönkkönen. He estimates that the multi-objective planning alone results in considerable improvements in species habitat availability without any extra costs.

"Small additional investments into biodiversity may yield large benefits. In particular, increasing habitat availability for the capercaillie is relatively inexpensive," says Mönkkönen. Providing dead-wood associated species with more habitats tended to be more expensive because this would involve some refraining from harvesting. Giving up silvicultural thinnings turned out to be a cost-effective measure to improve habitats for numerous species in production forests.

According to the Finnish government's decision, 180 million euro will be spent in 2008–2016 (the METSO program) on maintaining biodiversity in mostly privately owned southern Finnish forests. Mönkkönen suggests that a potentially efficient way to use the METSO funding would be to compensate forest-owners for economic losses from not thinning their forests.

"Small investments may provide large biodiversity benefits," he explains.

The first results of the study have been published in the Journal of Environmental Management. The research continues with funding from the Academy of Finland.

For more information, please contact Mikko Mönkkönen, Department of Biological and Environmental Science, University of Jyväskylä. Tel: +358 50 441 3682, e-mail:

Mikko Mönkkönen | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Harnessing a peptide holds promise for increasing crop yields without more fertilizer
25.11.2015 | University of Massachusetts at Amherst

nachricht Study shows how crop prices and climate variables affect yield and acreage
18.11.2015 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: How Cells in the Developing Ear ‘Practice’ Hearing

Before the fluid of the middle ear drains and sound waves penetrate for the first time, the inner ear cells of newborn rodents practice for their big debut. Researchers at Johns Hopkins report they have figured out the molecular chain of events that enables the cells to make “sounds” on their own, essentially “practicing” their ability to process sounds in the world around them.

The researchers, who describe their experiments in the Dec. 3 edition of the journal Cell, show how hair cells in the inner ear can be activated in the absence...

Im Focus: Climate study finds evidence of global shift in the 1980s

Planet Earth experienced a global climate shift in the late 1980s on an unprecedented scale, fuelled by anthropogenic warming and a volcanic eruption, according to new research published this week.

Scientists say that a major step change, or ‘regime shift’, in the Earth’s biophysical systems, from the upper atmosphere to the depths of the ocean and from...

Im Focus: Innovative Photovoltaics – from the Lab to the Façade

Fraunhofer ISE Demonstrates New Cell and Module Technologies on its Outer Building Façade

The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE has installed 70 photovoltaic modules on the outer façade of one of its lab buildings. The modules were...

Im Focus: Lactate for Brain Energy

Nerve cells cover their high energy demand with glucose and lactate. Scientists of the University of Zurich now provide new support for this. They show for the first time in the intact mouse brain evidence for an exchange of lactate between different brain cells. With this study they were able to confirm a 20-year old hypothesis.

In comparison to other organs, the human brain has the highest energy requirements. The supply of energy for nerve cells and the particular role of lactic acid...

Im Focus: Laser process simulation available as app for first time

In laser material processing, the simulation of processes has made great strides over the past few years. Today, the software can predict relatively well what will happen on the workpiece. Unfortunately, it is also highly complex and requires a lot of computing time. Thanks to clever simplification, experts from Fraunhofer ILT are now able to offer the first-ever simulation software that calculates processes in real time and also runs on tablet computers and smartphones. The fast software enables users to do without expensive experiments and to find optimum process parameters even more effectively.

Before now, the reliable simulation of laser processes was a job for experts. Armed with sophisticated software packages and after many hours on computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

Urbanisation and migration from rural areas challenging agriculture in Eastern Europe

30.11.2015 | Event News

Fraunhofer’s Urban Futures Conference: 2 days in the city of the future

25.11.2015 | Event News

Gluten oder nicht Gluten? Überempfindlichkeit auf Weizen kann unterschiedliche Ursachen haben

17.11.2015 | Event News

Latest News

Teamplay IT solution enables more efficient use of protocols

30.11.2015 | Trade Fair News

Greater efficiency and potentially reduced costs with new MRI applications

30.11.2015 | Trade Fair News

Modular syngo.plaza as a comprehensive solution – even for enterprise radiology

30.11.2015 | Trade Fair News

More VideoLinks >>>