Docent Shorokhova Ekaterina and working group (RETROFOR)

257250 €

RETention forestry as a tool to secure Resilience and sustainability in Operational FORest management

Nelivuotinen | Hankkeen teemat liittyvät Suomen muuttuvat naapuruudet -ohjelmaan

More than 90 % of forests in Finland are structurally simplified, even-aged and -structured because of intensive forest management based on clearcutting. Variable retention forestry (VRF), in which variable shares of living trees and legacy elements are left within a harvested area, has been suggested to mitigate the negative effects of forest management on biodiversity. In Fennoscandia, VRF has been studied from biodiversity perspective only in a short-term, around twenty years (Koivula & Vanha-Majamaa 2020 Recent study, however, showed that VRF with up to 40% retention has been practiced in the north-western (NW) Russia for more than a century (Shorohova et al. 2019). Geographically similar Russian forests therefore provide a unique VRF experiment to study long-term effects of VRF. The objective of RETROFOR is to evaluate long-term environmental and social impacts of VRF in Fennoscandia. Specifically, the effects of biological legacies left on harvested areas on ecosystem services and biodiversity will be examined, synthesized, and expressed through art (photography) to provide novel practical recommendations for the development of ecological and social sustainability of forest management in both countries. The dataset will include NW Russian areas, harvested in 1910 - 1970 with retention levels of up to 40%, and field experiments on VRF in Finland. The effects of VRF on 1) biodiversity: communities of species associated with CWD, 2) supporting and provisional ecosystem services: the tree stand structure, the amount and diversity of coarse woody debris and berry yield, 3) regulating ecosystem services: carbon storage and net ecosystem production, and 4) cultural ecosystem services: human perceptions of attractiveness, i.e., combined aesthetic and recreational values by means of a photography-based questionnaire and art exhibitions, are estimated. Means of communication include publications, press releases, presentations, art exhibitions, and public seminars.