Canadian Forest Service Publications
Negative or positive effects of plantation and intensive forestry on biodiversity: a matter of scale and perspective. 2010. Hartmann, H.; Daoust, G.; Bigué, B.; Messier, C. The Forestry Chronicle 86(3): 354-364.
Issued by: Laurentian Forestry Centre
Catalog ID: 31703
Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)
Terrestrial biodiversity is closely linked to forest ecosystems but anthropogenic reductions in forest cover and changes in forest structure and composition jeopardize their biodiversity. Several forest species are threatened because of reduced habitat quality and fragmentation or even habitat loss as a result of forest management activities. In response to this threat, integrated forest management (IFM) was developed in the early 1990s and has been applied over large spatial scales ever since. While IFM seeks to satisfy both human resource demands and ecosystem integrity, the whole forest matrix is affected and this may also have negative impacts on biodiversity. The concept of forest zoning (e.g., Triad) avoids these issues by physically separating land uses from each other. The zoning approach has been developed in the same period as IFM, but there are still very few examples of large-scale applications. This may be because its distinctiveness from IFM may not always seem clear and because forest zoning is not easily implemented. Here we explain these differences and show that IFM and the zoning approach are indeed different management paradigms. We advocate the use of high-yield plantations within the zoning paradigm as a means for biodiversity conservation and review the literature (with an emphasis on the northern hemisphere and on plantation forestry within a land-zoning approach) on impacts of forest management activities on biodiversity. Furthermore, we give advice on issues that require consideration when implementing forest zoning at both the stand and the landscape levels. We recommend several small changes in design and management of forest plantations as a means to significantly increase their biodiversity value. We conclude that while forest zoning seems an adequate strategy for the Canadian forestry sector, a shift in paradigm must carry over to policy-makers and legislation if this approach is to succeed.