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Honkanen M.,University of Jyväskylä | Roberge J.-M.,University of Jyväskylä | Roberge J.-M.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences | Rajasarkka A.,Metsahallitus | Monkkonen M.,University of Jyväskylä
Global Ecology and Biogeography | Year: 2010

Aim: One of the few general laws in ecology is that species richness is a positive function of area. However, it has been proposed that area would merely be a proxy for energy. Additionally, habitat heterogeneity has been found to be an important factor determining species richness. Yet the relative importance of those relationships is little known, and it is still unclear how they are brought about. We aimed to dissect which factors drive the species richness of boreal forest birds, and to identify the most probable mechanisms. Location: Forested protected areas in Finland. Methods: Using bird line census data collected in 104 protected areas, we ran simultaneous autoregressive models to explain the species richness of forest birds. We explored the value of forest area, tree volume, tree growth, mean degree days and habitat heterogeneity as explanatory variables and used the species richness within different species groups, based on the predictions of hypothesized mechanisms, as a response variable. Results: Energy, rather than area or habitat heterogeneity, seems to be the main driver of species richness in boreal forest birds. More specifically, productive energy was a better predictor of total species richness than solar energy. Among the tested hypothetical mechanisms, the sampling hypothesis received strong support. After accounting for sampling, solar energy had an effect on species richness. Main conclusions: As productive energy, such as tree volume, is associated with species richness, high-energy areas should be prioritized in forest conservation planning. Reductions in productive energy may first lead to the disappearance of the rarest species due to the random sampling process. Climate change may result in increased species richness due to increasing amount of productive and solar energy in forests. However, the range shifts of bird species may not be fast enough to keep up with the temperature increases. © 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Juslen A.,University of Helsinki | Hyvarinen E.,Metsahallitus | Virtanen L.K.,University of Helsinki
Conservation Biology | Year: 2013

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List Index (RLI) is recognized as one of the key indicators of trends in the status of species. The red-list assessment done by Finnish authorities of species in Finland is taxonomically one of the most extensive national assessments. We used the Finnish Red Lists from 2000 and 2010 to calculate for the first time the national RLIs for 11 taxonomic groups at different trophic levels and with different life cycles. The red-list index is calculated on the basis of changes in red-list categories and indicates trends in the status of biological diversity of sets of species. The RLI value ranges from 0 to 1. The lower the value the faster the set of species is heading toward extinction. If the value is 1, all species in the set are least concern and if the value is 0, all species are (regionally) extinct. The overall RLI of Finnish species decreased. This means that, in Finland, these taxonomic groups were heading toward extinction faster in 2010 than in 2000. Of the analyzed groups of organisms, RLIs of 5 decreased and RLIs of 6 increased. At the national level, the RLIs and status trends varied markedly between species groups. Thus, we concluded that generalizations on the basis of RLIs of a few taxa only may yield a biased view of ongoing trends in the status of biological diversity at the species level. In addition, one overall RLI that includes many different species groups may also be misleading if variation in RLI among species groups is not considered and if RLI values are not presented separately for each group. © 2013 Society for Conservation Biology.

Kajanus M.,Savonia University of Applied Sciences | Leskinen P.,Finnish Environment Institute | Kurttila M.,Finnish Forest Research Institute | Kangas J.,Metsahallitus
Forest Policy and Economics | Year: 2012

Connecting Multiple Criteria Decision Support (MCDS) methods with SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis yields analytical priorities for the SWOT factors and makes them commensurable. Decision alternatives can also be evaluated with respect to each SWOT factor. SWOT analysis provides the basic frame for analyses of operational environments to support strategic decision-making. MCDS methods enhance SWOT analysis and its results so that alternative strategic decisions can be prioritised overall. This benefits the utilisation of the SWOT-results in the decision making process. The methods also help in defining the action line alternatives that are based on the recognition of the most important operational environmental factors and their possible interdependencies. The MCDS method applied initially and most often within the SWOT framework has been the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP), and the hybrid approach has been called the A'WOT. Any MCDS method, and its prioritisation principles, can, however, be applied and the existence of different techniques allows the adaptation of use of the MCDS method according to the needs of the decision-maker and the specific planning situation. This paper reviews the evolution of the A'WOT method with AHP, SMART and SMAA-O techniques applied within SWOT, and studies their applicability and the MCDS methods more generally, through required assessment techniques of decision-makers' preferences. The usability of the techniques is analysed with case studies in the field of strategic natural resources management planning. The article focuses mainly on analysis of the differences in MCDS methods from the perspective of the planning situation approached by SWOT. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Penttila R.,Finnish Forest Research Institute | Penttila R.,Finnish Environment Institute | Junninen K.,Metsahallitus | Punttila P.,Finnish Environment Institute | Siitonen J.,Finnish Forest Research Institute
Forest Ecology and Management | Year: 2013

Fire is increasingly used in management and restoration of forest ecosystems, in order to rehabilitate habitat structure and to create habitats for species dependent on forest fires and dead wood. However, information on the impacts of fire on saproxylic species is scanty, and long-term studies on the effects are almost totally lacking. Here we present results from a long-term field study conducted in eastern Finland in 1988-2011. Two pine-dominated boreal forest stands, a seminatural and a managed one, were intentionally burnt in 1989. We inventoried polypores 1. year before the fire, in the year of burning, and 1, 2, 6, 13 and 22. years after the fire. The short-term effects of fire were destructive for polypore communities. However, species numbers recovered to the pre-fire level 6. years after the fire. After 13. years, the number of species was clearly higher than before the fire, due to the large input of fire-killed dead trees. The number of red-listed species was strikingly high (18 species) in the seminatural stand 13. years after the fire including several species which have earlier been considered as old-growth forest indicators, and remained at high level (17 species) still 22. years after the fire. The number of red-listed species was much lower in the formerly managed stand (6 and 8 species, respectively). We conclude that burning of stands can be a very effective method to create habitats for red-listed polypore species, at least if the stand is located close to high-quality source areas and contains a sufficient amount of large-diameter trunks of different tree species. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Moilanen M.,Finnish Forest Research Institute | Hytonen J.,Finnish Forest Research Institute | Leppala M.,Metsahallitus
European Journal of Soil Science | Year: 2012

Forested peatlands contain large pools of terrestrial carbon. As well as drainage, forest management such as fertilizer application can affect these pools. We studied the effect of wood ash (application rates 0, 5 and 15 t ha -1) on the heterotrophic soil respiration (CO 2 efflux), cellulose decomposition, soil nutrients, biomass production and amount of C accumulated in a tree stand on a pine-dominated drained mire in central Finland. The ash was spread 13 years before the respiration measurements. The annual CO 2 efflux was statistically modelled using soil temperature as the driving variable. Wood ash application increased the amounts of mineral nutrients of peat substantially and increased soil pH in the uppermost 10 cm layer by 1.5-2 pH units. In the surface peat, the decomposition rate of cellulose in the ash plots was roughly double that in control plots. Annual CO 2 efflux was least on the unfertilized site, 238 g CO 2-C m -2 year -1. The use of wood ash nearly doubled CO 2 efflux to 420-475 g CO 2-Cm -2 year -1 on plots fertilized with 5-15 t ha -1 of ash, respectively. Furthermore, ash treatments resulted also in increased stand growth, and during the measurement year, the growing stand on ash plots accumulated carbon 11-12 times faster than the control plot. The difference between peat C emission and amount of C sequestered by trees on the ash plots was 43-58 g C m -2, while on the control plot it was 204 g C m -2. Our conclusion is that adding wood ash as a fertilizer increases more C sequestration in the tree stand than C efflux from the peat. © 2012 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2012 British Society of Soil Science.

Rehell S.,Metsahallitus | Virtanen R.,University of Oulu
Holocene | Year: 2016

Most rich-fen bryophyte species are currently declining and red listed in many European countries. Little is known about their past and current occurrence. We investigated past and recent bryophyte assemblages in mires in the land uplift coast of Finland. The study areas included primary succession areas where mire development started c. 6000 BP. In total, seven mires were studied in two successional transects along the land uplift coast. The past occurrences of rich-fen and other bryophytes were studied in 45 mire stratigraphic peat profiles, and recent occurrences were collected from 158 vegetation plots of 10 m × 10 m. Bryophyte subfossils indicated that the central parts of the basins developed first to wet rich fens with groundwater influence, which developed towards intermediate fens or poorer mire types. Most mire bryophytes occurred in about the same proportion in peat profiles as in recent vegetation. Five rich-fen species (Hamatocaulis lapponicus, H. vernicosus, Meesia longiseta, M. triquetra and Pseudocalliergon trifarium) were clearly more common in peat profiles than in the present mire vegetation, where these species were very rare and appeared only in small patches without sporophytes. These rich-fen species have had markedly wider distributions in the past, probably linked to climate fluctuations, whereas current occurrences are becoming scarce because of multiple anthropogenic factors such mire drainage and climate change. © 2015, The Author(s) 2015.

Virkkala R.,Finnish Environment Institute | Rajasarkka A.,Metsahallitus
Boreal Environment Research | Year: 2011

Species ranges are expected to move latitudinally poleward because of the warming climate. We asked whether northward patterns are observable also in population densities of land birds in Finnish protected areas such that temporal population changes would be most pronounced toward species range boundaries. We compared population changes of northern species, southern species, and species distributed over the whole country from 1981- 1999 to 2000-2009 in 96 protected areas. Northern species showed the greatest decrease in southern Finnish protected areas, and southern birds increased most in northern Finnish protected areas. Among species distributed over the whole country, there were population density shifts toward northern Finnish protected areas. Two thirds of the species that decreased most were northern, whereas many of the species showing the greatest increase were southern habitat generalists. The results show that there are already northward density shifts occurring that probably precede future species range shifts. © 2011.

Virkkala R.,Finnish Environment Institute | Rajasarkka A.,Metsahallitus
Biology Letters | Year: 2011

Human land-use effects on species populations are minimized in protected areas and population changes can thus be more directly linked with changes in climate. In this study, bird population changes in 96 protected areas in Finland were compared using quantitative bird census data, between two time slices, 1981-1999 and 2000- 2009, with the mean time span being 14 years. Bird species were categorized by distribution pattern and migratory strategy. Our results showed that northern bird species had declined by 21 per cent and southern species increased by 29 per cent in boreal protected areas during the study period, alongside a clear rise (0.7-0.88C) in mean temperatures. Distribution pattern was the main factor, with migratory strategy interacting in explaining population changes in boreal birds. Migration strategy interacted with distribution pattern so that, among northern birds, densities of both migratory and resident species declined, whereas among southern birds they both increased. The observed decline of northern species and increase in southern species are in line with the predictions of range shifts of these species groups under a warming climate, and suggest that the population dynamics of birds are already changing in natural boreal habitats in association with changing climate. © 2010 The Royal Society.

Metsähallitus in Finland is a state enterprise that manages about 3.5 million hectares of productive commercial state-owned forest land. Metsähallitus has a forest management planning system which uses information stored in a GIS-based forest resource information system. The information on forest resources is currently collected using a standwise inventory system with ocular estimation of stand characteristics. New promising inventory methods based on laser scanning have been introduced. Before taking a new system into use, the information needs of Metsähallitus must be analysed. In this study, information needs in operational harvest planning have been analysed with a qualitative approach. A total of eight team leaders in the forestry business unit were interviewed, six of them representing the process responsible for the operational harvest planning and two representing the process responsible for the harvest and deliveries. Based on the study, two main decision making points with different information needs were confirmed. The first decision making point is related to finding the areas potential for immediate or near future harvesting. Here, geographical information on the need for the treatment as well as rough information on the harvestable volume is needed. In the second decision making point, a final decision of sites to be harvested is made with rather intensive field work. Precise delineations of the treatment are needed as well as good estimates of volumes of different timber assortments. When considering a new inventory system it is justified to consider how much of the information needs in these decision making points can be covered. Two different approaches are proposed for further analysis. The interviews revealed a need for a more structured tactical planning system. Some of the findings of this study - especially the decision making points and information needs in them - may be transferable to other large-scale forest owners.

Kouki J.,University of Eastern Finland | Hyvarinen E.,Metsahallitus | Lappalainen H.,University of Eastern Finland | Martikainen P.,University of Eastern Finland | Simila M.,Metsahallitus
Diversity and Distributions | Year: 2012

Aim: Restoration of habitats may be used as a conservation tool when ecosystems have lost their natural structure, dynamics or functioning over large areas. Controlled and planned use of fire could be an effective way to restore habitats of many threatened species in boreal forests where fire suppression has been effective. We asked whether the large-scale landscape context affects the occurrence of rare and threatened species in forest habitats that have been burned to restore their fire-related structures. Location: Boreal forests in southern Finland. Methods: We designed a large-scale field experiment that included nine Pinus sylvestris forests (5-10ha each) in southern Finland. Sites were located in two regions: (1) in eastern region with shorter management history and (2) in western region where intensive forestry has continued longer. We evaluated whether restoration of dead/burned wood is beneficial for rare and conservation-dependent species and measured the recovery of pyrophilous and red-listed insects (beetles and flatbugs) in burned forests, using standardized sampling effort. Altogether, 956 individuals of 29 red-listed and pyrophilous species were sampled. Results: Rare species colonized areas quickly, but there was a clear difference in species richness between the regions. The eastern forests harboured higher species richness after restoration. In these sites, the average species richness was 13.7 species per site, whereas in western forests it was 5.0 species per site. Similar pattern was also observed in subgroups: the corresponding numbers for pyrophilous species were 9.7 vs. 3.8, for red-listed 8.7 vs. 2.3 and for red-listed pyrophiles 4.7 vs. 1.2. Main conclusions: Introducing fire back to boreal forests can aid in the recovery of rare species, but the landscape context considerably affects the success of restoring species. If restored habitats are located in landscapes that have lost their natural properties long ago, the success of restoration seems to be more challenging than in landscapes where habitats have been modified more recently. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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