The potential contribution of forest conservation areas to avoid species losses is very low, or even negative, as long as wildlife ruminants overgraze the protected areas.
Not in all cases where nature and biodiversity conservation is intended, species protection is the outcome. The ambitious political target e.g. of the German biodiversity strategy to take 5 percent of the forest area out of management, and to produce a wilderness for biodiversity, will lead to the paradox situation of a species loss.
Picture: Browsing in the Keula National Reserve
Picture credit: Thomas Stephan (www.thomas-stephan.com) The picture is free for journalistic use only in the context of this press release.
In Thuringia the plan is to take 25,000 ha out of management for conservation. However, without the presence of predators or enough hunting, this will lead to an overpopulation of deer, distorting the desired biodiversity by overgrazing.
In a large scale inventory work German and Romanian scientists have investigated the diversity status of tree regeneration on about 7,000 plots in deciduous forests in Thuringia, Germany, and Romania. The results have just been published in “Annals of Forest Research”. In Thuringia about 50 to 60 percent of the tree species are damaged and subsequently lost by browsing. In Romania the loss is lower with only 10 to 30 percent of the tree species. The damage is largest in protected areas, such as National Parks and Nature Reserves. The deer population is such high, that the pro-tection target gets lost also for organisms other than trees.
“The situation is very severe”, says Ernst-Detlef Schulze, Emeritus Professor at the Max-Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena, Germany, and lead author of the study. “At this moment we produce monocultures of beech, because – among other reasons - beech saplings are much less damaged by browsing than other tree shoots. “Ecologically the effects are the same as for other monocultures, e.g. spruce forests.”
“We are facing the problem of a very narrow focus of nature conservation” states Dr. Helge Walen-towski of the Bavarian State Institute of Forestry at Freising, Germany. “We will have lots of dead wood but e.g. no butterflies. The loss of tree species results in a loss of insects. Every second butterfly species is going to get extinct; since a specific tree species that is needed for living is being lost as seedling due to feeding of roe deer”.
“The situation will only change, if the legal basis of hunting will be changed” Dr. Laura Bouriaud, Professor for Forest Law at the School of Forestry in Suceava, Romania points out. “There is no rational that hunters have a monopoly on regulating deer populations when the population level runs out of control”.
“The study shows, that only sustainable wildlife and forest management maintains the biodiversity in European forests” says Dr. Dominik Hessenmöller, coworker of the Thuringian Forest Service. “von Carlowitz, who coined the word “sustainable management”, recommended, that a browsed species should be cut, because it will never recover”.
“We were very surprised by our findings. We did not expect such a high damage in Romania” says Dr. Olivier Bouriaud of the Romanian Forest and Management Institute at Bucharest. “In Romania we have wolves and bears and lynx. But a totally new problem emerged in Romania, namely the effects of illegal grazing by domestic goat and sheep, which appears to be highest in protected areas. This however should not obscure the fact that we also have problems with deer, because the wolves prefer to hunt a sheep on alpine grassland rather than a roe deer on steep alpine forest slopes”.
At this moment the high level of damage in conservation areas (National Parks) is only part of the truth. Also managed forests have unacceptable high levels of deer damage to an extent, that the declared management goals of changing monocultures into mixed forest stands is endangered.
E.D. Schulze, O. Bouriaud, J. Wäldchen, N. Eisenhauer, H. Walentowski, C. Seele, E. Heinze, U. Pruschitzki, G. Dănilă, G. Martin, D. Hessenmöller, L. Bouriaud, M. Teodosiu (2014). Ungulate browsing causes species loss in deciduous forests independent of community dynamics and silvicultural management in Central and Southeastern Europe. Ann. For. Res. 57(2)_-_2014
Prof. Dr. Ernst-Detlef Schulze
Max-Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Jena, Germany
Dr. Olivier Bouriaud
Forest Research and Management Institute, Campulung, Romania
Susanne Héjja | Max-Planck-Institut
First time-lapse footage of cell activity during limb regeneration
25.10.2016 | eLife
Phenotype at the push of a button
25.10.2016 | Institut für Pflanzenbiochemie
Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
26.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
26.10.2016 | Earth Sciences
25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences