Strategies for the matrix: Experimental tests in the Pacific Northwest.
Carey, Andrew*,1, 1 Pacific Northwest Research Station, USDA Forest Service, Olympia, WA, USA
ABSTRACT- Old-growth forests are ecologically unique and highly valued by people; naturally young forests with legacies from old forests sustain many, if not all, the higher organisms associated with old growth; many forests managed for wood production are depauperate in species. Thus, restoring landscape function entails restoring function to managed stands. Silvicultural modifications to benefit single species, such as threatened species, even with nature reserves, seem insufficient for protecting biodiversity. In northwestern USA, comparisons of natural and managed coniferous forests suggest that single-species conservation and conventional forestry are unlikely to be successful because biocomplexity is more important than individual habitat elements in maintaining biological diversity. Furthermore, processes of forest development seem more important than simple structures and provide guidance for restoring function through active management. Small and intermediate disturbances in stands promote expansion of habitat space and pre-interactive niche differentiation which, in turn, promotes high species diversity and biomass. Experiments in inducing heterogeneity into forest canopies support the importance of disturbance in promoting spatial heterogeneity that promotes biocomplexity including diversity in soil organisms, vascular plants, fungi, birds, small mammals, and vertebrate predators. Holistic management, however, requires a suite of techniques to direct developmental processes to a useful trajectory. Intentional management can reduce the need for wide riparian buffers, produce landscapes dominated by late-seral stages that are hospitable to wildlife associated with old-growth forests, provide a sustained yield of forest products, and contribute to economic, social, and environmental sustainability.
Key words: matrix, management, biodiversity, sustainability
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