Estimating retention benchmarks for salvage logging to protect biodiversity
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BiodiversityEnvironmental impactForest ecologyForestry
Thorn, S., Chao, A., Georgiev, K.B. et al. Estimating retention benchmarks for salvage logging to protect biodiversity. Nat Commun 11, 4762 (2020). [https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-18612-4]
SponsorshipOpen Access funding enabled and organized by Projekt DEAL
Forests are increasingly affected by natural disturbances. Subsequent salvage logging, a widespread management practice conducted predominantly to recover economic capital, produces further disturbance and impacts biodiversity worldwide. Hence, naturally disturbed forests are among the most threatened habitats in the world, with consequences for their associated biodiversity. However, there are no evidence-based benchmarks for the proportion of area of naturally disturbed forests to be excluded from salvage logging to conserve biodiversity. We apply a mixed rarefaction/extrapolation approach to a global multi-taxa dataset from disturbed forests, including birds, plants, insects and fungi, to close this gap. We find that 75 ± 7% (mean ± SD) of a naturally disturbed area of a forest needs to be left unlogged to maintain 90% richness of its unique species, whereas retaining 50% of a naturally disturbed forest unlogged maintains 73 ± 12% of its unique species richness. These values do not change with the time elapsed since disturbance but vary considerably among taxonomic groups.