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Levels of a mature forest

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Levels of a mature forest8 389; doi: This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution CC BY license http: Global Ecological Signpost, Local Reality: Choose your preferred view mode Please select whether you prefer to view the MDPI pages with a view tailored for mobile displays or to view the MDPI pages in the normal scrollable desktop version.

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Volume 8, Issue 3. No citations found yet 0. Create a SciFeed alert for new publications With following keywords landscape context. By following authors Sam W.

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One email with all search results. One email for each search. Open Access This article is freely available re-usable Forests8 389; doi: Barry Brook and Jessie C.

Fire and timber harvesting can diminish the extent of older forests in the near term. Levels of a mature forest amount and configuration of mature and regenerating forest in the landscape landscape structure influences habitat suitability for mature-forest-associated species.

We applied spatial analysis to describe the landscape structure of three wet eucalypt forest landscapes in south—eastern Australia and used the results from empirical biodiversity studies to frame interpretation of possible impacts on habitat suitability.

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We determined the extent of structurally mature forest, its reservation status, and the extent to which it may be edge affected. We also assessed how landscape structure potentially impacts the re-establishment of mature-forest-associated species into previously harvested areas through the proximity to mature forest influence —and extent of landscape context —mature forest in the surrounding landscape. Our analyses were designed to inform forest management initiatives that draw on these landscape-scale concepts.

Detrimental effects of edge influence on structurally mature forest appeared relatively minor. Low levels of mature forest influence combined with low-medium surrounding mature forest cover landscape context indicate potential limitations on recolonisation of coupes by mature-forest-associated species.

Our results vindicate the recent shift toward variable retention silviculture and landscape context planning. Our approach to landscape analysis provides a useful framework for other managed forest landscapes. Introduction Forest managers seeking to achieve sustainable forest management must carefully balance the social, economic, and environmental values of forest ecosystems [ 12 ]. According to ecologically sustainable forest management principles, timber harvesting should be conducted in a way that does not compromise biodiversity within the ecosystem [ 34 ].

The fragmentation of harvested forest landscapes can have detrimental effects on biodiversity that manifest at a range of spatial scales from the harvested coupe to the wider forest landscape. Understanding how forest landscape structure defined here as the spatial pattern of patches of cover of overstory of different ages, sensu [ 5 ] contributes to maintenance of biodiversity in harvested landscapes is a key challenge for modern forest managers [ 5 ], including Levels of a mature forest seeking to implement forest conservation initiatives at multiple spatial Levels of a mature forest [ 6 ].

This paper focuses on three components of forest landscape structure with particular reference to how they inform forest management and conservation of mature forest biodiversity in timber production landscapes. Edge influence from coupes has been found to affect a range of taxa worldwide [ 1112131415 ]. While the resilience of biodiversity in intact forest patches is clearly important, the importance of the role of harvested areas as habitat in their own right is gaining increasing recognition because they provide habitat for young-forest-associated species of high conservation value and because mature-forest-associated species can recolonise regenerating stands over time [ 1617 ].

The process of recolonisation of harvested areas by mature-forest-associated species involves local and landscape scale mechanisms, including: Whilst biodiversity within harvested areas will generally progress back toward its pre-harvest state through general successional processes [ 18 ], the re-establishment of mature-forest-associated species can be facilitated by the proximity to and amount of nearby mature habitat [ 1719 ].

Proximity to unlogged mature forest buffers environmental conditions in harvested areas [ 152021 ] and provides source populations for recolonisation by individuals or propagules. The latter is particularly important for dispersal-limited species that do not survive within areas subject to Levels of a mature forest and regeneration treatments [ 2223 ].

Distance relationships are affected by regenerating forest age through its effect on microclimate, forest floor composition, and canopy structure, as well as the role of time in Levels of a mature forest gradual dispersal [ 1726 ] Figure 1. Threshold values of forest cover that positively influence the persistence of these species in the landscape are rare, and tend to be described for cases where the surrounding matrix habitat has been substantially altered, for example, cleared for agriculture e.

However, biological responses to the surrounding landscape may be stronger in post-harvest regenerating forest than in mature forest remnants.

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For example, Wardlaw et al. The wet eucalypt forests of south-eastern Australia are disturbance-driven ecosystems with a history of intensive timber harvesting [ 31 ]. Landscape-scale wildfires and harvesting in the last century have diminished the extent of mature forest in these landscapes, which has raised concerns for the conservation of flora and fauna that are reliant on mature forest habitat [ 193233 ]. In response, the concepts of mature forest influence and landscape context are being integrated into multi-scaled forest management practices in wet eucalypt forests in south-eastern Australia.

In Tasmanian and Victorian wet eucalypt forests, the recent introduction of variable retention silviculture, where patches of undisturbed forest are retained within harvested coupes, is sometimes replacing use of clearfell, burn and sow silviculture clearcutting [ 343536 ]. Levels of a mature forest retention explicitly aims to ensure minimum levels of harvested area under mature forest influence at the coupe scale.

These initiatives complement an existing network of formal and informal reserves in the landscape.