Journal Article Structural Complexity and Ecosystem Functions in a Natural Mixed Forest under a Single-Tree Selection Silviculture

Yoshida, Toshiya  ,  Naito, Sayoko  ,  Nagumo, Misato  ,  Hyodo, Natsumi  ,  Inoue, Taiki  ,  Umegane, Hiromitsu  ,  Yamazaki, Haruka  ,  Miya, Hisashi  ,  Nakamura, Futoshi

9 ( 11 )  , p.2093 , 2017-11 , MDPI
The objective of forest management has become broader, and it is essential to harmonize timber production with conservation of the forest ecosystem. Selection cutting is recognized as a major alternative of clear-cutting, because it can maintain the complexity and heterogeneity of a natural forest; however, its long-term evaluations are limited. This study compared various attributes of stand structures, which are indicators of biodiversity and ecosystem carbon stock between managed and unmanaged blocks (12.6 ha area in total) in a natural mixed forest in Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan. We found that 30 years' implementation of single-tree selection did not affect the volume, size structure, species diversity nor spatial distribution of overstory trees in the managed stands. Also, the total carbon stock in the managed stands was almost equal to that of the unmanaged stands. In contrast, several structural attributes and indicator elements that are significant for biodiversity (such as large-diameter live trees, dead trees, cavities, epiphytic bryophytes, and some avian guilds) showed marked decrease in the managed stands. We conclude that it is required to leave these structures and elements to some extent for deriving the merit of the management as an alternative silvicultural regime in the region.

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