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Forest Plantations and Biodiversity: A Fresh Perspective

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We examined the worldwide literature on biodiversity in forest plantations for the indicator organism assessed, species composition (native versus exotic), tree species diversity, and appropriateness of the comparisons made. Fifty percent of the studies used invertebrates, 36% birds, 6% mammals, and 6% vascular plants as bioindicators. We found that 76% of the existing literature compares exotic plantation forests to native/natural forests, 9% of studies compare native plantations to native/natural forests, and 3% examine plantations to plantations. Lower biodiversity in plantation forest compared to other forests was reported by 94% of the reviewed studies. However, some studies indicate higher biodiversity in plantation forests compared to other land uses such as agriculture. We argue that much of the literature reporting lower biodiversity in plantation forests is based on inappropriate comparisons. We suggest more appropriate approaches to assessing the effects of plantation forests on biodiversity.

Keywords: biodiversity; managed forests; plantations

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2007

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.
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