Examining how forestry practices influence forest and guide future sustainable forest management practices and climate mitigation strategies

In the EcoForest-project we study the long-time effects of forestry on biodiversity (insects, fungi, bacteria) in soil and dead wood, as well as carbon storage and differences in ecosystem functions. The aim is to provide a comprehensive overview on how forestry practices influence the forest and guide future sustainable forest management practices and climate mitigation strategies.

Background and project description

Background and project description

Boreal forests store major parts of terrestrial carbon pools and house an extensive biodiversity, mediating various ecosystem processes, including carbon sequestration. In Norway, only 1.7% of the productive forest can be considered as natural, as various forestry practices have been carried out for centuries. Approximately 30% of our forests have, however, never been clear-cut and could be described as near-natural.

In the EcoForest project, we assess the long-term effects of clear-cutting on species richness and genetic diversity, carbon stocks and dynamics, and processes linking these. We use a paired plot approach comparing 12 stands from near-natural forests which have not been impacted by clear-cutting, with mature stands that have been through one cycle of clear-cutting.

Clear-cut sites
Near natural site

We evaluate and quantify differences in forest structure (Work Package 1; WP1), carbon sequestration (WP2), community diversity (WP3), genetic diversity (WP4) and biodiversity functions (WP5). Clear-cutting (CC) is by far the dominant harvesting method in Norway, whereas continuous cover forestry (CCF) may become more widespread in the future. Thus, we will initiate a long-term experiment to assess effects of CC versus CCF and undisturbed control on carbon sequestration and forest biodiversity (WP6).

The project has a strong focus on outreach and have established a platform that enables open and direct communication of research findings to forestry and environmental organizations. The aim is to evaluate management guidelines that support biodiversity and C storage in forested ecosystems (WP7). The research is conducted in close collaboration with partners from the forestry industry, environmental organizations, and other stakeholders.

University partners:

  • University of Oslo (project coordinator)
  • Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)
  • Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO)
  • Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA)

Collaborative partners:

Persons involved