Technical Bulletins & Special Reports

Technical Bulletin No. 0983: The Role of Forest Management in Maintaining Conservation Values

Biodiversity is a key concept in conservation biology and a prime target for conservation efforts across the globe. In North America forest management planning and operations have been under intense scrutiny to ensure the maintenance and sometimes enhancement of biodiversity in every area of operation. Forest management policy and guidelines and public and private forest certification schemes have been developed to take biodiversity into consideration and contribute to extensive efforts to plan for the adequate protection of biodiversity. However, biodiversity is difficult to conceptualize, and therefore more difficult to quantify. As a result, numerous criteria and indicators have been developed and selected that if measured and maintained on a landscape, would be expected to conserve biodiversity. Based on a report by the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, the following 12 criteria were examined: 1) representation, 2) species richness, 3) species endemism, 4) rarity, 5) significant or outstanding ecological or evolutionary processes, 6) presence of special species or taxa, 7) threatened species, 8) species decline, 9) habitat loss, 10) fragmentation, 11) large intact areas, 12) high and low future threat. The purpose of this report is to link a selection of these criteria to their scientific underpinnings, by examining the published scientific literature that underscores them. The basis for each criterion (ecological/environmental or social) is described, and where notable, uncertainties are noted. Findings suggest that there are at least three categories into which the criteria can be examined (species, landscape, and future threat), relatively few can be quantified in a meaningful way, and most of them are significantly inter-related and confounded.