LIFE SPAN - Saproxylic Habitat Network: planning and management for European forests

Traditional forest management, focused on the maximization of continuous wood production, has brought the reduction of structural heterogeneity, deadwood volume and microhabitat availability, and as a consequence species diversity. Efforts to preserve forest biodiversity have mostly included segregative approaches (i.e. setting aside areas), creating isolated sanctuaries embedded in a matrix of productive forest, often intensively managed. The lack of connectivity of protected areas make the integration of conservation measures in productive forests essential. Strategies to integrate conservation of saproxylic biodiversity (dead wood-associated species, which altogether constitute at least 30% of forest biodiversity) in forest management have been developed before, but their effectiveness has never been demonstrated.

Our goal is to implement an economically sustainable management framework that will contribute to the effective to reach the following objectives: 1) demonstrate an innovative and economically sustainable forest planning and management approach to conserve biodiversity and increase structural heterogeneity in productive forests of the Natura 2000 network, applicable in other productive forests as well, through the implementation of specially designed management plans. This will improve the conservation status of habitat types and species of Community Interest targeting Natura 2000 sites; 2) transfer the approach to the managers of Natura 2000 sites and to other practitioners through training activities and guidelines drafting; 3) disseminate the approach to the public to increase awareness on the importance of forest biodiversity conservation and integrated approaches.

Project management
Andreas Schuck,
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche
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