Our publication in the Journal of Applied Ecology

Our new publication can be found here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1365-2664.12801/full

and also on the journal's blog: https://jappliedecologyblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/28/traditional-forest-management-practices-stop-forest-succession-and-bring-back-rare-plant-species/

 

Traditional forest management practices stop forest succession and bring back rare plant species

In Europe, lowland forests have long been considered stable, climax habitats and some of these are now conserved in nature reserves without any management interventions. However, strong evidence now indicates that the diversity of various species groups including butterflies, saproxylic beetles and also plants have declined following the abandonment of some traditional forest management practices. We evaluated a five-year field trial in a lowland oak forest to describe the effects of the restoration of litter raking and grass cutting, both traditional forest practices, on plant species diversity and presence of target species. By introducing of traditional forest management practices we were able to reverse the forest succession towards higher richness and cover of target species. Therefore, to maintain plant diversity in European lowland forests, some traditional forms of forest management should be encouraged in contrast to the prevailing strategy which is to attempt to conserve biodiversity by avoiding all interventions.