ChapterPDF Available
Fig. A 1. Flowering cherry tree in a large-scale uniform
Scots pine plantation (Photo: Andreas Rigling).
Context and solutions for integrating nature
conservation into forest management:
an overview
F. Krumm1, K. Bollmann1, P. Brang1, T. Schulz-Marty1, C. Küchli2, A. Schuck3, A. Rigling1,4
1 Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Birmensdorf, Switzerland
2 Federal Ofce for the Environment FOEN, Bern, Switzerland
3 European Forest Institute EFI, Bonn, Germany
4 Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH, Zürich, Switzerland
How to balance forestry and biodiversity conservation – A view across Europe
As the human population grows, demands for eco-
system services in general, and thus also for forest
goods and services (g. A 2) are increasing (MEA
2005). The growing population needs forests to:
provide clean drinking water, recreational opportu-
nities, protection against natural hazards and soil
erosion, moderate the climate at local level, and
mitigate climate change by storing CO2 (Renaud
et al. 2011; Zellweger et al. 2020; Canadell and
Raupach 2008; FAO 2020). Managed and unman-
aged forests provide these services to a different
extent, but some services can only be provided in
the required quality and quantity by targeted man-
agement. The rise in demand for forest goods and
services, but also for agricultural land and resources
on a global scale has exacerbated the current global
biodiversity crisis (Díaz et al. 2019) since forests are
of paramount importance as biodiversity hot-spots
(Zisenis et al. 2010). As not all goods and services
can be provisioned simultaneously from the same
area, decisions about targeted services need to be
made, ideally taking advantage of synergies to
optimise the provision. In a globalised world, how-
ever, taking such decisions in one region almost
Non-timber products
Fig. A 2. Ecosystem goods and services (adapted from MEA 2005) delivered by forests as the basis of a holistic view on
forest management. The spider-graph indicates the weighting of the individual goods and services in respect to their
importance, nancial resources invested, or work power applied in a forest enterprise. This graph will be applied to all
practice examples presented in the third part of this book in the Chapters C 1–C 32 (Illustrations by Vivanne Dubach).
always affects forests in other regions. Moreover,
most people do not experience the consequences
of their choices for particular forest products
directly and they also have little knowledge about
the underlying production processes and their con-
sequences for the environment and humankind.
Finally, governance failures and the prevalence of
short-term economic gains increase the already
high pressure on forests. Attempts to remediate
this situation include valuable international efforts
to secure higher production standards by develop-
ing certication schemes (e.g. Auld et al. 2008) and
further agreements between local population,
national governments, and trade organisations
(e.g. REDD+,
One strategy to maximise the effectivity in pro-
viding different products and services is ‘spatial seg-
regation’ (g. A 3). This strategy has been applied,
for example, to mitigate the conicts between agri-
culture and forestry in central Europe (Suda and
Pukall 2014). Industrial plantations are usually given
as examples of segregation (Bemmann et al. 2008);
however, the concept may also encompass relatively
uniform and highly productive stands of managed
forests that are nonetheless based on natural regen-
eration and allow the appearance of additional spe-
cies (Borchers 2010). The creation of strictly pro-
tected areas for conservation and enhancement of
biodiversity also follows a segregative approach.
However, as the future demand for wood for indus-
trial and fuel purposes is increasing or at least sus-
tained (Sloan and Sayer 2015; Bais et al. 2015), and
the demand for non-timber forest services and
products (including biodiversity conservation) is
also increasing (Sheppard et al. 2020), resolving
resource use conicts by withdrawing large forest
areas from production of such goods would further
aggravate the pressure on the remaining natural
forests worldwide.
An alternative pathway to the segregation
approach is to deliver multiple ecosystem goods
and services simultaneously on the same forest
area, applying ‘multiple service forestry’ (Wagner
et al. 2013; Gómez-Bagghetun et al. 2010) (g. A 3).
A third possibility is a combination of both con-
cepts, the ‘integrative forest management’ (Kraus
and Krumm 2013; Sotirov and Aerts 2018), which
strives to full multiple objectives at different spa-
tial scales (from the single tree, to the cohort, to
the stand, and up to the landscape levels). In this
approach, forests are dynamically managed with
different time horizons including temporary or
unlimited protection of single trees or entire forest
areas (Box A 1 and g. A 3).
What integrative forest management means
and how it can be achieved in practice is the topic
Fig. A 3. Schematic presentation of fully segregative and multi-service forestry (Bollmann and Braunisch 2013,
adapted). According to Kraus and Krumm (2013) integrative forest management can be seen as dual concept of
segregative and multipurpose management elements.
Other forest goods and services such as recreation, protection, non-wood products
Biodiversity conservation; R = Reserves Wood production
FE 1
FE: Independent forest enterprise with different priority services
a Full segregation between forest reserves and wood production (e.g. plantation forestry).
b Full segregation between forest reserves and wood production, with forest managementautomatical
and random delivery of additional services (‘wake water’ forest management)
Segregation between forest reserves and wood production, but with targeted promotion of different
forest goods and services, incl. selected biodiversity measures (multi-service forestry).
FE 2 FE 3 FE 4 FE xy
FE 1 FE 2 FE 3 FE 4 FE xy
FE 1 FE 2 FE 3 FE 4 FE xy
How to balance forestry and biodiversity conservation – A view across Europe
Box A 1. Denition of integrated forest management.
Integrated forest management
Integrated forest management is an approach which aims at the sustainable delivery of multi-
ple forest goods and services from the same area but at different spatial scales (from the single
tree (g. A 4), to the cohort, to the stand, and up to the landscape levels). Integrative measures
have different time horizons including temporary or unlimited protection of single trees or
entire forest areas (Kraus and Krumm 2013). Hence, it can be seen as a dual strategy including
both, integrative and segregative management approaches (Bollmann and Braunisch 2013)
aiming at preservation of forest biota in forest landscapes representative of the different
development stages of a forest (Kraus and Krumm 2013).
Integration of different ecosystem goods and services depends on the spatial scale. The main
focus in this book will be on the management unit – in this book mainly the forest enterprise
level – where forest planning gets traction and leaves impact on the ground. Additional aspects
of higher and lower levels, which are important for the enterprise level, are elaborated and
Integrated forest management aims to maximise the synergies between the main goals of
forestry: production, protection, and conservation. Referring to the denition of the Millen-
nium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA 2005), we distinguish between production of timber and
non-timber forest products, protection against natural hazards and climate disturbances, pro-
tection of soil as well as groundwater and drinking water, and conservation of landscape aes-
thetics and recreation. Although biodiversity can be seen as a fundamental concept and base
for all ecosystem services (MEA 2005), it is added and treated in this book as an additional
ecosystem service (g. A 2).
of this book. It focuses on European forests, which
are mostly part of old cultural landscapes with leg-
acy effects of a long history of human use and cul-
tivation for several thousands of years. Moreover,
European forests are part of landscapes character-
ised by high (although variable) densities of popu-
lation and infrastructure, limited space, and high
fragmentation. As a result of past management,
primary forests have almost completely disap-
peared and near-natural ecosystems have become
rare in several parts of Europe (Sabatini et al. 2018;
Sabatini et al. 2020). Protected areas (e.g. national
parks and other forest ecosystems with high con-
servation value) are often of relatively small size
(less than 250 km²). As a consequence, processes of
natural forest dynamics are limited and some habi-
tats present in primary forests should be main-
tained also in managed forests by integrated forest
management (Bütler et al. 2013; Lachat et al. 2013;
Ranius and Jonsson 2007; Gossner et al. 2013).
With the shift in focus of forest management
from mainly timber to a wide array of forest goods
and services, integrative approaches have under-
gone important changes. Fifty years ago, the
so-called ‘wake-water theory’ (‘Kielwasser-Theorie’)
(Rupf 1960) (g. A 3) postulated, mainly in the Ger-
man speaking countries, that managing for timber
would automatically ensure delivery of all other
forest goods and services, in particular since man-
agement often integrated natural processes and
conservation aspects in ‘close-to-nature silviculture’
(Schütz 1999; Brang et al. 2014). While this approach
seems suitable for the integration of some ecosys-
tem services, e.g. the protection against natural
hazards (Brang et al. 2006), it sometimes fails in
conserving important facets of biodiversity, such as
deadwood (g. A 5), old habitat trees (g. A 4), or
rare non-protable tree species (Bauhus et al. 2013).
The close-to-nature silviculture concept is very gen-
eral and is often loosely dened. Hence, the quality
of its implementation strongly depends on attitudes
and education of local forest managers. Conse-
quently, a broad variety of interpretations has led
to manifold applications considering specic eco-
logical and socio-economic properties. Schall et al.
(2020) nicely show that the diversity of manage-
ment approaches on small scales might promote
biodiversity conservation in beech forest landscapes.
Nevertheless, in some European regions,
because of the widely implemented close-to-nature
silviculture, forests can still be seen, relative to the
often negative developments in agriculture, as
near-natural habitats with a relatively rich commu-
nity of forest species. In other regions of Europe,
however, industrial plantation forestry, partly on
former agricultural land, has resulted in monospe-
cic and even-aged forests with poor biodiversity.
Especially in Europe and North America, the public
attitude towards forestry has drastically changed
since the 1980s as a consequence of a growing
understanding about the importance of forest bio-
diversity, and also an increasing urbanisation of
society (Puettmann et al. 2009). Forests and forest
biodiversity have been specically acknowledged
by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD),
particularly at the CBD’s tenth Conference of Par-
ties (COP 10) with the adoption of the Aichi Biodi-
versity Targets (CBD 2010). Hence, there is growing
political agreement not only about the need to
contain the loss of biodiversity in forests but also
about the need to actively increase and promote
forest biodiversity.
While species richness and diversity have gained
in importance, it is increasingly acknowledged that
biodiversity goals cannot be stable over time and
vary from place to place. They are inuenced by the
history of a particular forest, by its site conditions,
and by the societal values with respect to different
facets of forest biodiversity. At time-scales of dec-
ades to hundreds of years, forest biodiversity must
be viewed as a shifting target driven by changes in
societal values.
On top of this, climate change is expected to
result in signicant altitudinal and latitudinal shifts
of vegetation zones (e.g. Hanewinkel et al. 2013;
Zimmermann et al. 2016; Frehner et al 2018), entail-
ing range shifts of associated species which might
disappear in certain areas and invade new eco-
tones. The frequency and severity of extreme cli-
matic events, like the hot and dry spells 2003, 2015,
2018, 2019, and 2020 in central Europe, and related
disturbances (e.g. bark beetles) will shape these
range shifts and thus future forest condition
(Schuldt et al. 2020), and are likely to lead to tem-
porary or permanent loss of specic forest habitats.
With a view to biodiversity conservation, these
dynamics and the associated large uncertainties
may be buffered best by fostering diversity to cre-
ate resilient forest ecosystems. Integrated forest
management is fully compatible with this strategy.
Hence, locating the conict between forest
management and nature conservation has become
How to balance forestry and biodiversity conservation – A view across Europe
more challenging with the increasing number of
demands placed on forest management and the
growing uncertainties caused by climate change.
Although conicts of interest between wood pro-
duction and biodiversity conservation may still con-
stitute a main conict, additional potential contra-
dictions between biodiversity conservation and
other ecosystem services have emerged (Fabian et al.
2019). Climate change may mean that the nature of
the conict may shift towards a competition
between adaptation strategies (e.g. Winkel 2013).
This book has a special focus on forest manage-
ment approaches that aim to improve the integra-
tion of biodiversity conservation while simultane-
ously promoting different forest ecosystem goods
and services in a changing environment. The result-
ing conicts and synergies will highly depend on
the context of the ultimate decision-maker, the for-
est enterprise. Questions about What type of biodi-
versity is aspired to? and Which forest management
traditions and what types of forest owner struc-
tures can be built upon? will affect the nature of
the conicts, but also potential synergies. Compre-
hensive identication of these frame conditions is
crucial for developing optimised solutions tailored
to the specic setting of a forest enterprise.
The conceptual foundations and
boundary conditions of integrated
forest management
The second part of this book (Chapters B 1–B 12)
provides the conceptual foundations for the various
dimensions and frame conditions of integrated for-
est management. This theoretical framing describes
the contexts and prevailing trade-offs of the exam-
ples from practice that have been assembled in the
third part of the book (Chapters C 1–C 32) as well as
the solutions suggested. To begin with, a unifying
theoretical framework for integrative forest man-
agement at the landscape level is introduced (Chap-
ter B1; Bollmann et al.). Deciding about how to best
integrate biodiversity conservation into the provi-
sion of other forest goods and services requires
knowledge about how, where, and to what degree
forest management practices can be adapted to
contribute to biodiversity objectives without impair-
Fig. A 4. Methuselah oak tree in the midst of a Scots pine plantation, near Eberswalde, Germany. Preserving single
trees rich in micro-habitats is one effective measure to improve biodiversity (Photo: Andreas Rigling).
ing the provision of competing ecosystem services,
or perhaps even exploiting potential synergies. To
this end, the main approaches and instruments of
forest biodiversity conservation are reviewed and
their potential and limitation to conserve and
restore native biodiversity are discussed.
To understand the current situation in European
forests, it is important to realise how forest manage-
ment and biodiversity have developed historically,
bridging forest history with cultural heritage (Chap-
ter B 2; Bürgi et al.). Based on six case studies the
potential of local forests for an integrated provision
of ecosystem services is discussed in a broader Euro-
pean context. Two specic challenges are postulated
for the future: (1) on the one hand, in order to pre-
serve the biological and cultural heritage of our
European forests, it is vital to understand its value;
and (2) on the other hand, historical management
practices are often useful as an inspiration for future
integratived forest management systems. Address-
ing these two challenges will contribute to better
adapt forest management to future challenges and
changing demands in forest goods and services,
including biodiversity conservation.
This leads to further important framework con-
ditions of Europe that are characteristic of its heter-
ogeneous landscape: the highly diverse policy and
legal framework relevant for the integration of
production and conservation in European forests
(Chapter B 3; Sotirov et al.). Rules and implementa-
tion structures for biodiversity conservation
through integrative forest management had
evolved within very different national and even
regional contexts. While the nature conservation
directives of the EU have improved the coordina-
tion between forest and nature conservation poli-
cies at the national level, the local implementation
of these directives has also benetted from a fur-
ther development of the rules to promote forest
biodiversity. Which forest biodiversity rules are
introduced and how they are being implemented,
however, is contingent on the forest ownership
structure, the socio-economic and policy priorities
of the forest sector, but also to some extent on how
competences are distributed across levels of gov-
ernment. Although improving the integration of
biodiversity conservation into forest management
can receive impulses and framing from national or
Fig. A 5. Deadwood is another important component of biodiversity conservation in forests. Consistent availability in
sufcient quantity and different qualities (tree species, dimension, decay stage) is vitally important (Photo: Andreas
How to balance forestry and biodiversity conservation – A view across Europe
continental levels, it nonetheless requires regional
Ownership structures are signicant for forest
management (g. A 6). Biodiversity promotion
measures are compared across four countries (Swe-
den, Austria, Germany, and Switzerland) (Chapter
C 4; Wilkes-Allemann and Lieberherr). While some
private or public forest owners hold more than
1000 ha, or sometimes even 100 000 ha, of forest
land, millions of private persons own areas smaller
than one hectare. On the one hand, this large
diversity in ownership complicates forest legisla-
tion and its implementation (Chapter A3; Sotirov
et al.); on the other hand, it has triggered the
development of a great variety of forest manage-
ment types that have contributed to the diverse
European forest landscape (Chapter C 2; Bürgi
et al.). The main drivers of changing ownership
structures are privatisation and restitution (e.g.
Germany and Sweden) and changing lifestyles of
forest owners (e.g. Austria, Germany, Sweden, and
Switzerland). Because of urbanisation, small inher-
ited forest patches are nancially irrelevant (or
even a burden) for many forest owners and often
their interest and know-how in traditional timber
production is fading away. While these changes
imply a need for revisions to forest management
approaches and policy instruments supporting for-
est owners in managing their forests, it can also be
Fig. A 6. Small, structured forest landscape inuenced by topography and ownership structures (Photo: Andreas
Fig. A 7. Promoting the bioeconomy includes the
intensied use of the renewable, but limited wood
resource produced by integrated and sustainable forest
management (Photo: Andreas Rigling).
seen as an opportunity for innovation creating a
diverse pool of interests, ideas, and management
preferences promoting a diversity of approaches.
In the transition from a fossil-based to a bio-
based economy, the forest and wood sectors play a
crucial role (g. A 7), given their substantial climate
mitigation potential through carbon sequestration
and substitution of fossil energy intensive materi-
als. The objective must be to use the renewable,
but limited wood resource efciently and sustaina-
bly. Part of the solution can be to integrate the
concepts of circular economy and cascading
resource use into the bioeconomy concept (Chapter
B 5; Weber-Blaschke and Muys), respecting the eco-
logical, economic, and social impacts of wood and
other ecosystem services over the full life cycle.
Hence, the development of a sustainable wood-
based bioeconomy will have considerable impacts
on forest management because of the increased
demand for wood supply, and in turn this will have
implications for all ecosystem services including
bio diversity. The promotion of particular elements
(e.g. deadwood, g. A 5) and the shift to more
broadleaved forests has had a dramatic impact on
the wood-processing industries as they are widely
set up for the processing of coniferous wood. These
industries will have to adapt to a different variety
of wood assortments.
As long as human activities and infrastructure
used by residents and tourists are still increasing,
the demand for protection from natural hazards by
current protection forests will also increase (g.
A 8). In Switzerland, for example, at least 50 % of
the forest area are designated as protection forest
(BAFU 2013), which is considered to be the most
cost-effective insurance against natural hazards.
Maintaining the protective effect of the forest by
fostering the capacity of these ecosystems to absorb
disturbances and increase its resilience is a particu-
lar challenge given the changing climate. Maintain-
ing the resilience of such ecosystems requires pro-
motion of a diversity of structures and species; this
can be seen as a kind of natural insurance, and thus
as generating additional economic value (Chapter
B 6; Antkowiak et al.). Even protection forests that
are privately owned provide public goods, as the
local residents and tourists are the largest group of
beneciaries. Although a more proactive manage-
ment for forest resilience can be protable in some
areas, structural misalignments between owner-
ship, decision-making, and actual consumption of
ecosystem services lead to a low willingness to pay
for natural insurance services. Hence, integrated
forest management might help to promote diverse
and resilient forests serving all targeted goods and
The relation between forestry and hunting has
become very direct with mutual impact in the past
decades. Past hunting practices have strongly inu-
enced the distribution and abundance of predators
such as lynx (Lynx lynx) or wolves (Canis lupus), but
also of ungulates such as roe deer (Capreolus capre-
olus) (g. A 9), red deer (Cervus elaphus), and
moose (Alces alces) in European forests. These
changes in species composition, abundance, and
trophic relationships have inuenced forest
dynamic processes in the last centuries, and there-
fore also forest biodiversity (Gill 1992a and 1992b).
Conversely, forest management may have a funda-
mental impact on forest ora and fauna, including
ungulate populations, although these are, of
course, strongly inuenced by hunting activities.
These interactions can result in conicting interests
that are particularly difcult to reconcile as the
causes can be manifold, and there may be economic
dependencies for both hunting and forestry, and
sometimes deep-rooted beliefs and long-standing
Fig. A 8. In mountain areas forests protect people and
infrastructure from natural hazards. Maintaining the
resilience of such forests suggests promoting a diversity
of structures and species; this has an indirect economic
value. If these forests cannot anymore provide sufcient
protection, costly technical constructions must be
installed (Photo: Ulrich Wasem).
How to balance forestry and biodiversity conservation – A view across Europe
traditions prevent compromise. Hunters exert
strong inuence on forest management approaches,
which is often addressed in hunting regimes. Now-
adays, nature conservation comes into play as a
third interest group since forest biodiversity is
inuenced by both forest management and hunt-
ing (see also Chapter B 10; Höltermann). Hence
integrated wildlife management, respecting and
involving all stakeholder groups, is urgently needed
to reduce conicting management goals and to
promote the various forest goods and services for
the future (Chapter B 7; Ehrhardt et al.), including
biodiversity promotion.
There are many reasons why biodiversity is
important, and for many people this is simply a
question of ethics. From a natural science perspec-
tive, adaptive capacity for environmental changes
depends on diversity. As human inuences – i.e.
introduced species, land-use changes, or climatic
changes – induce manifold structural changes in
forests, it is crucial to maintain or increase the
capacity of forests to adapt to changes in order to
keep them and neighbouring production systems
vital and productive. The pool for adaptation
depends on diversity, which is probably the most
important argument for the maintenance and fos-
tering of biodiversity. However, which type of bio-
diversity should be aspired to and what might be
the appropriate nature conservation measures are
still debated between nature conservationists and
foresters. Disagreement remains with respect to
the reference point for biodiversity: Is it the maxi-
mum degree of biodiversity reached under histori-
cal management regimes, or is it the amount of
biodiversity provided by the primary forests of the
past? Which past – 100, 1800, or 5000 years ago? In
Chapter B 8, (Gossner and Wohlgemuth), two tra-
jectories of nature conservation are discussed: (1)
To protect a multitude of species by research-based
evidence on optimum habitat requirements – for
this purpose, the number of species, the number of
ecosystem services, and even productivity at a
larger spatial scale considering trade-offs in multi-
purpose forest management must be optimised; or
(2) Natural processes can be well protected in
unmanaged areas, and in particular in large unman-
aged areas, where many disturbances can take
place stochastically and create diverse habitats –
Fig. A 9. Integrated wildlife management should involve all stakeholder groups across the sectors and should not stop
at the edge of the forest areas (Photo: Ulrich Wasem).
this approach does not address the controlling eco-
system states, but may, in contrast, provide refer-
ence for mimicking natural dynamics in managed
ecosystems and serve as a source as well as a refuge
for populations of highly demanding species.
In the past one to two centuries, European for-
estry has invested much in overcoming large-scale
deforestation and forest degradation. Today the
main challenges are the economic difculties of
forest owners, the restoration of lost biodiversity,
and the maintenance of multiple forest goods and
services under uncertain impacts of climate change.
As our traditional forest management is increas-
ingly challenged by unprecedented and more fre-
quent abiotic and biotic extreme events (g. A 10,
11) alternative concepts are needed. In this respect,
the resilience concept can be seen as a possibility to
support forest management to better cope with
these challenges (Chapter B 9; Lindner et al.). One
important aspect would be an indicator-based resil-
ience assessment for monitoring changes of forest
vulnerability and resilience as a basis for develop-
ing risk management strategies. This would be a
crucial instrument to safeguard future forest goods
Fig. A 10. Large-scale calamities by the spruce bark beetle are a natural process which creates habitat for specialised
species and deserves protection. It can be starting point and accelerator to increase biodiversity (e.g. Bavarian Forest
National Park) (Photo: Ulrich Wasem).
Fig. A 11. Spruce bark beetle infestations are often
managed by large-scale salvage harvesting with direct
impacts on the wood markets, and also biodiversity.
Disturbances can have dramatic economic consequences
for forest owners, but they also create opportunities to
adapt and steer forest composition to increase resilience
to a changing climate. Photo taken in Austria, near Retz
in 2019 (Photo: Andreas Rigling).
How to balance forestry and biodiversity conservation – A view across Europe
and services, including the conservation of biodi-
versity, in times of changing societal demands and
climate change.
Besides the various boundary conditions for
integrating biodiversity conservation into forest
management, the second part of the book also pro-
vides visions for integrative forest management
developed from the perspective of nature conser-
vation administrations at the national level for Ger-
many (German Federal Agency for Nature Conser-
vation (BfN), Chapter B 10; Höltermann) and
Switzerland (Federal Ofce for the Environment,
FOEN, Chapter B 11; de Sassi et al.). BfN and FOEN
agree on several key points in their long-term
visions: the main challenge for the future is identi-
ed as preserving and developing resilient forests
and forest landscapes to ensure the continued pro-
vision of different production, protection, and con-
servation ecosystem services (MEA 2005) under the
conditions of climate change. Structurally rich for-
ests composed of multiple species are more resil-
ient in the face of climate change and deliver mul-
tiple ecosystem services that are important for
humans. Hence, future forests should: (1) be rich in
species composition and genetic diversity, (2)
regenerate naturally, and (3) provide suitable habi-
tat for a regionally representative forest fauna and
ora. To support this vision a combination of inte-
grative and segregative measures are needed to
maintain biodiversity in forests, and to enhance it
where decits are identied. For effective guidance
in policy and management, forest monitoring
should include associated quantitative and qualita-
tive indicators on biodiversity; these should also
address the dynamics of biodiversity targets
because of the growing impact of climate change.
This will complement more production-oriented
parameters in current forest monitoring and result
in a holistic assessment of forest condition.
The German Federal Ministry for Food and
Agriculture (BMEL), the ministry responsible for the
German forests, underlines the necessity of further
enhancing forest biodiversity but also puts empha-
sis on harvesting timber as a renewable and sus-
Fig. A 12. According to nature conservationists, future forests should be near natural with respect to species com-
position and genetic diversity, and they should regenerate naturally and provide suitable habitat for the full
spectrum of forest fauna and ora (Photo: Andreas Rigling).
tainable resource as a key task for future forest
management (Box B 1). One important measure is
practice-oriented and science-based knowledge
sharing under the European Network Integrate
(, as an active contri-
bution to implementing the Forest Strategy of the
European Union by further enhancing nature pro-
tection within sustainable forest management.
The effects of forest management on biodiver-
sity are increasingly well studied but less is known
about the motivations and possibilities of foresters
and forest owners to use integrated management
in their forests (Chapter B 12; Derks et al.). In the
frame of the project InForMar (https://, 42 forest managers and
national experts in conservation and forest
management from nine European countries
were interviewed using in-depth interview
guidelines and standard-ised questionnaires.
Measures to increase forest resilience can be
similar to nature conservation actions since they
often focus on promoting diver-sity. Hence, in
many cases integrated forest man-agement is
able to bridge biodiversity conservation and other
forest goods and services in a changing climate
when considering regional and local con-texts.
Integrated forest management at the
enterprise level – success stories
The main motivation for this book is to demon-
strate that, beside forest planning at a superordi-
nate level, integrated forest management
approaches applied at the enterprise level can suc-
cessfully contribute to balancing the trade-offs
between forest utilisation and conservation while
considering highly varying local contexts. Inte-
grated forest management needs to be developed
at the enterprise level where adequate and prag-
matic solutions benecial for nature conservation
and other important forest goods and services can
be identied and implemented. The third part of
this book showcases 32 practice examples of forest
enterprises, forest owners, and regional initiatives,
which were successful in developing locally adapted
management concepts (Chapters C 1–C 32). These
examples will take the reader on a Tour d’Europe
from Spain to Norway and from Ireland to Slovakia.
The examples cover very different management
foci and ownership. The 32 cases show how forest
managers integrate diverse goods and services in
innovative ways. Further, views beyond Europe and
to specic aspects are presented in 20 short box
contributions that highlight approaches, attitudes,
and measures towards integrating different ecosys-
tem services into forest management. The cases
illustrate the breadth and the diversity of the topic.
Discussions about the issues covered by the book
are similar to discussions taking place in other
regions of the world, and therefore we can learn
from experiences elsewhere (Boxes C 8, C 11, C 12,
C 14, C 19). Drawing from these case studies and
box contributions, a toolbox of integrative meas-
ures is developed that is intended to support forest
owners and managers to choose appropriate meas-
ures for targeted integrated management in their
areas. This toolbox is presented in the synthesis
chapter. The toolbox is evaluated and missing links
and possible actions for future integrative forest
management are discussed.
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Full-text available
Primary forests are critical for forest biodiversity and provide key ecosystem services. In Europe, these forests are particularly scarce and it is unclear whether they are sufficiently protected. Here we aim to: (a) understand whether extant primary forests are representative of the range of naturally occurring forest types, (b) identify forest types which host enough primary forest under strict protection to meet conservation targets and (c) highlight areas where restoration is needed and feasible. We combined a unique geodatabase of primary forests with maps of forest cover, potential natural vegetation, biogeographic regions and protected areas to quantify the proportion of extant primary forest across Europe's forest types and to identify gaps in protection. Using spatial predictions of primary forest locations to account for underreporting of primary forests, we then highlighted areas where restoration could complement protection. We found a substantial bias in primary forest distribution across forest types. Of the 54 forest types we assessed, six had no primary forest at all, and in two‐thirds of forest types, less than 1% of forest was primary. Even if generally protected, only ten forest types had more than half of their primary forests strictly protected. Protecting all documented primary forests requires expanding the protected area networks by 1,132 km2 (19,194 km2 when including also predicted primary forests). Encouragingly, large areas of non‐primary forest existed inside protected areas for most types, thus presenting restoration opportunities. Europe's primary forests are in a perilous state, as also acknowledged by EU's “Biodiversity Strategy for 2030.” Yet, there are considerable opportunities for ensuring better protection and restoring primary forest structure, composition and functioning, at least partially. We advocate integrated policy reforms that explicitly account for the irreplaceable nature of primary forests and ramp up protection and restoration efforts alike.
Full-text available
In 2018, Central Europe experienced one of the most severe and long-lasting summer drought and heat wave ever recorded. Before 2018, the 2003 millennial drought was often invoked as the example of a “hotter drought”, and was classified as the most severe event in Europe for the last 500 years. First insights now confirm that the 2018 drought event was climatically more extreme and had a greater impact on forest ecosystems of Austria, Germany and Switzerland than the 2003 drought. Across this region, mean growing season air temperature from April to October was more than 3.3°C above the long-term average, and 1.2°C warmer than in 2003. Here, we present a first impact assessment of the severe 2018 summer drought and heatwave on Central European forests. In response to the 2018 event, most ecologically and economically important tree species in temperate forests of Austria, Germany and Switzerland showed severe signs of drought stress. These symptoms included exceptional low foliar water potentials crossing the threshold for xylem hydraulic failure in many species and observations of widespread leaf discoloration and premature leaf shedding. As a result of the extreme drought stress, the 2018 event caused unprecedented drought-induced tree mortality in many species throughout the region. Moreover, unexpectedly strong drought-legacy effects were detected in 2019. This implies that the physiological recovery of trees was impaired after the 2018 drought event, leaving them highly vulnerable to secondary drought impacts such as insect or fungal pathogen attacks. As a consequence, mortality of trees triggered by the 2018 events is likely to continue for several years. Our assessment indicates that many common temperate European forest tree species are more vulnerable to extreme summer drought and heat waves than previously thought. As drought and heat events are likely to occur more frequently with the progression of climate change, temperate European forests might approach the point for a substantial ecological and economic transition. Our assessment also highlights the urgent need for a pan-European ground-based monitoring network suited to track individual tree mortality, supported by remote sensing products with high spatial and temporal resolution to track, analyse and forecast these transitions.
Full-text available
Forest management greatly influences biodiversity across spatial scales. At the landscape scale, combining management systems that create different stand properties might promote biodiversity due to complementary species assemblages. In European beech forests, nature conservation and policy advocate a mixture of unmanaged (UNM) forests and uneven‐aged (UEA) forests managed at fine spatial grain at the expense of traditionally managed even‐aged shelterwood forests (EA). Evidence that such a landscape composition enhances forest biodiversity is still missing. We studied the biodiversity (species richness 0D, Shannon diversity 1D, Simpson diversity 2D) of 14 taxonomic groups from bacteria to vertebrates in “virtual” beech forest landscapes composed of varying shares of EA, UEA and UNM and asked how γ‐diversity responds to landscape composition. Groups were sampled in the largest contiguous beech forest in Germany, where EA and UEA management date back nearly two centuries, while management was abandoned 20 to 70 yrs ago (UNM). We used a novel resampling approach that created all compositional combinations of management systems. Pure EA landscapes preserved a maximum of 97.5% γ‐multidiversity (0D, 1D) across all taxa. Pure and mixed UEA/UNM landscapes reduced γ‐multidiversity by up to 12.8% (1D). This effect was consistent for forest specialists (1D: ‐15.3%). We found only weak complementarity among management systems. Landscape composition significantly affected γ‐diversity of 6 to 9 individual taxa, depending on the weighting of species frequencies with strongest responses for spiders, beetles, vascular plants and birds. Most showed maximum diversity in pure EA landscapes. Birds benefited from UNM in EA‐dominated landscapes. Deadwood fungi showed highest diversity in UNM. Synthesis and applications. Our study shows that combining fine‐grained forest management and management abandonment at the landscape scale will rather reduce than enhance regional forest biodiversity. An even‐aged shelterwood management system alone operating at intermediate spatial scales and providing stands with high environmental heterogeneity was able to support regional biodiversity. However, some taxa require certain shares of uneven‐aged and unmanged forests, emphasizing their general importance. We encourage using the here presented resampling approach to verify our results in forest landscapes of different composition and configuration across the temperate zone.
Full-text available
This review provides perspectives and insights of forest researchers from four continents representing a range of geo-regions, with examples from diverse and dynamic use of forest products that are undervalued and often misrepresented. A comprehensive discussion of the subject provides special attention to property, tenancy, public goods and access rights to non-wood forest products (NWFP), seen as forest ecosystem services in a framework for forest management decisions. The overall purpose is to provide a logical argument for transitioning to sustainable management of forests for timber and NWFP. Multifunctional ecosystem-based approaches are transforming our understanding of forests. The prevailing economic relevance of NWFP for trade and sustenance requires their operative integration into forest management. Integration of NWFP will shift a traditional timber-oriented management paradigm towards an inclusive ecosystem forest management approach. We show that the impact of NWFP resources on livelihoods provides multiple benefits to all sectors of global society. Policy and property rights affect the availability and sustainability of the resource, while regulations, restrictions and prohibitions target the sustainable harvest of NWFP under growing demand. Official reporting of production volumes of NWFP is sparse, erratic or inaccurate due to a complex system that is opaque and with inadequately understood value chains, yet research is underway to better understand all NWFP sectors. A shift from command-and-control forest management to broader governance schemes is observed, yet despite a growing awareness of their importance, NWFP and their potential for a bio-based economy require more research. A conceptual framework for transitioning to sustainable co-production management of timber and NWFP is presented. Such a transition is needed to ensure long-term forest security, health and resilience.
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Aim Primary forests have high conservation value but are rare in Europe due to historic land use. Yet many primary forest patches remain unmapped, and it is unclear to what extent they are effectively protected. Our aim was to (1) compile the most comprehensive European‐scale map of currently known primary forests, (2) analyse the spatial determinants characterizing their location and (3) locate areas where so far unmapped primary forests likely occur. Location Europe. Methods We aggregated data from a literature review, online questionnaires and 32 datasets of primary forests. We used boosted regression trees to explore which biophysical, socio‐economic and forest‐related variables explain the current distribution of primary forests. Finally, we predicted and mapped the relative likelihood of primary forest occurrence at a 1‐km resolution across Europe. Results Data on primary forests were frequently incomplete or inconsistent among countries. Known primary forests covered 1.4 Mha in 32 countries (0.7% of Europe’s forest area). Most of these forests were protected (89%), but only 46% of them strictly. Primary forests mostly occurred in mountain and boreal areas and were unevenly distributed across countries, biogeographical regions and forest types. Unmapped primary forests likely occur in the least accessible and populated areas, where forests cover a greater share of land, but wood demand historically has been low. Main conclusions Despite their outstanding conservation value, primary forests are rare and their current distribution is the result of centuries of land use and forest management. The conservation outlook for primary forests is uncertain as many are not strictly protected and most are small and fragmented, making them prone to extinction debt and human disturbance. Predicting where unmapped primary forests likely occur could guide conservation efforts, especially in Eastern Europe where large areas of primary forest still exist but are being lost at an alarming pace.
Climate warming is causing a shift in biological communities in favor of warm-affinity species (i.e., thermophilization). Species responses often lag behind climate warming, but the reasons for such lags remain largely unknown. Here, we analyzed multidecadal understory microclimate dynamics in European forests and show that thermophilization and the climatic lag in forest plant communities are primarily controlled by microclimate. Increasing tree canopy cover reduces warming rates inside forests, but loss of canopy cover leads to increased local heat that exacerbates the disequilibrium between community responses and climate change. Reciprocal effects between plants and microclimates are key to understanding the response of forest biodiversity and functioning to climate and land-use changes.
In this introduction to the Special Issue, we set out the key definitions, theoretical concepts and analytical dimensions of integrated forest governance. By so doing, we identify and account for the interplay between forest policy integration and integrated forest management as two constituting elements of integrated forest governance. Second, we summarize the main findings reported in the regular papers, and link them to the outlined definitions, theoretical concepts and analytical dimensions. This introduction further takes stock and classifies the main paradoxes of, barriers to, and drivers of forest policy integration and integrated forest management. It then structures the main empirical findings and conclusions along the key analytical dimensions and links them to the state of the art knowledge. Finally, we draw policy relevant conclusions and outline suggestions for future research.