Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Mixed forests – a missed opportunity?

Forestry and nature conservation can benefit from promoting a diversity of tree species, new study finds.

Modern forestry is largely based on monocultures—in Sweden usually pine or spruce—mainly because it is considered more rational. However a forest contributes more ecosystem services than timber production, such as biological diversity, carbon storage, and berries.

Image: Mixed forrest outside Uppsala, Sweden.
Photo:Nic Kruys/N

A new study from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) and Future Forests shows that mixed forests, in comparison with monocultures, have positive effects on several different services, including production.

“Many people have suggested that high diversity of tree species has a favorable impact on processes in the ecosystem, but until now this connection has primarily been studied in terms of one process or ecosystem service at a time,” says Lars Gamfeldt from University of Gothenburg, who directed the new study.

The study, performed by an international research group, is based on material from the Swedish National Forest Inventory and the Swedish Forest Soil Inventory.

By examining the role played by the occurrence of diverse tree species for six different ecosystem services (tree growth, carbon storage, berry production, food for wildlife, occurrence of dead wood, and biological diversity), the study demonstrates that all six services were positively related to the number of tree species.

Different trees contribute to different services. For example, the amount of spruce is related to high tree growth and the amount of pine to berry production, while carbon storage was found in plots with more birch. In order to attain more of all services, forestry may thus need to make use of different tree species. Other studies of forests in Central Europe, the Mediterranean region, and Canada support these findings.

The study also investigated the relationship between the various ecosystem services. For example, high tree growth appears to be negatively related to the production of both berries and food for wildlife and to the occurrence of dead wood. On the other hand, food for wildlife was positively associated with both berry production and biological diversity in ground vegetation.

“It’s not so simple that you can always get more of everything. Sometimes you have to consider trade-offs between different ecosystem services,” says Jon Moen from Umeå University.

The new study, which is published in the scientific journal Nature Communications, runs partly counter to conventional thinking in forestry in Sweden. According to 2011 data from the Swedish National Forest Inventory, only about 7.5 percent of the productive forest land has mixed forests.

“Our findings show that both forestry and nature conservation stand to gain by promoting a greater variety of tree types, thereby providing more diverse ecosystem services,” says Jan Bengtsson, from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

Jan Bengtsson, SLU, mobile: +46 (0)70-2335118,
Jon Moen, Umeå University, mobile: +46 (0)70-2271513,
Lars Gamfeldt, University of Gothenburg, mobile: +46 (0)70-3393921,

The Future Forests Research Programme is a collaboration between the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Umeå University, and Skogforsk and is funded by Mistra, SLU, Umeå University, Skogforsk, and the Swedish forestry industry.

Full bibliographic information"Higher levels of multiple ecosystem services are found in forests with more tree species"

Lars Gamfeldt, Tord Snäll, Robert Bagchi, Micael Jonsson, Lena Gustafsson, Petter Kjellander, María C. Ruiz-Jaen, Mats Fröberg, Johan Stendahl, Christopher D. Philipson, Grzegorz Mikusiński, Erik Andersson, Bertil Westerlund, Henrik Andrén, Fredrik Moberg, Jon Moen & Jan Bengtsson

Nature Communications 4, Article number: 1340, doi:10.1038/ncomms2328

Annika Mossing | idw
Further information:

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Earlier flowering of modern winter wheat cultivars
20.03.2018 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

nachricht Algorithm could streamline harvesting of hand-picked crops
13.03.2018 | University of Illinois College of Engineering

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: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Physicists made crystal lattice from polaritons

20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Thawing permafrost produces more methane than expected

20.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>