Forests provide us with essential raw materials and the demand for these materials is increasing. To meet this increasing demand, forestry faces the challenge of how to intensify management of the existing production forests in sustainable ways.
An international and multidisciplinary team of scientists led by Christian Levers from the Humboldt-Universität in Berlin show that forest harvesting intensity is distributed unevenly across Europe and harvested timber volumes were mostly well below the increment. The spatial patterns of forest harvesting intensity were well explained by forest-resource related variables (i.e., the share of plantation species, growing stock, forest cover), site conditions (i.e., topography, accessibility), and country-specific characteristics, whereas socioeconomic variables were less important.
The study provides concrete starting points for developing measures targeted at increasing regional wood supply from forests or lowering harvest pressure in regions where forests are heavily used.
The research was carried out in the context of the Integrated Project "Visions of land use transitions in Europe" (VOLANTE) and supported by the European Commission and the Einstein Foundation Berlin.
- Christian Levers, Pieter J. Verkerk, Daniel Müller, Peter H. Verburg, Van Butsic, Pedro J. Leitão, Marcus Lindner, Tobias Kuemmerle. Drivers of forest harvesting intensity patterns in Europe. Forest Ecology and Management, 2014; 315: 160 DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2013.12.030
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