Using inventory variables for practical biodiversity assessment in plantation stands

Keywords: biodiversity indicators, forest function, forest structure, tree species composition, inventory variables, site index, shrub regeneration


Aim of study: Practically and simply assessing biodiversity by using inventory variables in four types of forest plantation stands (mixed and pure) including species such are chestnut, blue gum and maritime pine.

Area of study: Northwest Portugal in Vale do Sousa (14,840 ha), which is 97% covered with plantation forests.

Material and methods: Simulated data, from 90-year stand-level forest management planning, were considered using three indicators: tree species (number of different species and species origin—native or exotic), mean diameter at breast height (DBH), and shrub biomass. Two shrub regeneration types (fully regenerated by seed and fully regenerated by resprouting), and three site quality conditions were also considered.

Main results: Mean biodiversity scores varied between very low (10.13) in pure blue gum stands on lowest-quality sites with shrub regeneration by seed, and low (29.85) in mixed stands with a dominance of pine, on best-quality sites with shrub regeneration by resprouting. Site quality and shrub regeneration type significantly affected all biodiversity scores in mixed stands dominated by pine and pure chestnut stands, while less affected pure blue gum stands and mixed stands dominated by blue gum.

Research highlights: The considered biodiversity indicators cover the major biodiversity aspects and allow biodiversity assessment over time. The findings are relevant for biodiversity conservation and fire protection management.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Marija Cosovic, Forest Research Centre, School of Agriculture, University of Lisbon, Tapada da Ajuda, 1349-017 Lisbon, Portugal




Angelstam P, Dönz-Breuss M, 2004. Measuring forest biodiversity at the stand scale: An evaluation of indicators in European forest history gradients. Ecol Bull 51: 305-332.

Badalamenti E, La Mantia T, La Mantia G, Cairone A, La Mela Veca DS, 2017. Living and dead aboveground biomass in Mediterranean forests: Evidence of old-growth traits in a Quercus pubescens Willd. sl stand. Forests 8(6): 187.

Barreiro S, Rua J, Tomé M, 2016. StandsSIM-MD: A management driven forest SIMulator. Forest Syst 25(2): eRC07.

Bassi S, Kettunen M, Kampa E, Cavalieri S, 2008. Forest fires: causes and contributing factors to forest fire events in Europe. Study for the European Parliament Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety under contract IP/A/ENVI/FWC/2006-172/LOT1/C1/SC10.

Biber P, Felton A, Nieuwenhuis M, Lindbladh M, Black K, Bahýľ J, et al., 2020. Forest biodiversity, carbon sequestration, and wood production: modelling synergies and trade-offs for ten forest landscapes across Europe. Front Ecol Evol 8: 291.

Bielak K, Dudzińska M, Pretzsch H, 2014. Mixed stands of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) and Norway spruce [Picea abies (L.) Karst] can be more productive than monocultures. Evidence from over 100 years of observation of long-term experiments. Forest Syst 23: 573-589.

Botequim B, Zubizarreta-Gerendiain A, Garcia-Gonzalo J, Silva A, Marques S, Fernandes PM et al., 2015. A model of shrub biomass accumulation as a tool to support management of Portuguese forests. iForest 8: 114-125.

Botequim B, Bugalho MN, Rodrigues AR, Marques S, Marto M, Borges JG, 2021. Combining tree species composition and understory coverage indicators with optimization techniques to address concerns with landscape-level biodiversity. Land 10: 126.

Burrascano S, Keeton WS, Sabatini FM, Blasi C, 2013. Commonality and variability in the structural attributes of moist temperate old-growth forests: A global review. For Ecol Manag 291: 458-479.

Calviño-Cancela M, Rubido-Bará M, van Etten EJ, 2012. Do eucalypt plantations provide habitat for native forest biodiversity? For Ecol Manag 270: 153-162.

Capelo J, Mesquita S, Costa JC, Ribeiro S, Arsénio P, Neto C. et al., 2007. A methodological approach to potential vegetation modeling using GIS techniques and phytosociological expert-knowledge: Application to mainland Portugal. Phytocoenologia 37: 399-415.

Carnus JM, Parrotta J, Brockerhoff E, Arbez M, Jactel H, Kremer A et al., 2006. Planted forests and biodiversity. J For 104(2): 65-77.

Ćosović M, Bugalho MN, Thom D, Borges JG, 2020. Stand structural characteristics are the most practical biodiversity indicators for forest management planning in Europe. Forests 11(3): 343.

Deus E, Silva JS, Larcombe MJ, Catry FX, Queirós L, dos Santos P et al., 2019. Investigating the invasiveness of Eucalyptus globulus in Portugal: site-scale drivers, reproductive capacity and dispersal potential. Biol Invasions (6): 2027-2044.

Dias AC, Arroja L, 2012. Environmental impacts of eucalypt and maritime pine wood production in Portugal. J Clean Prod 37: 368-376.

Enes T, Lousada J, Fonseca T, Viana H, Calvão A, Aranha J, 2020. Large scale shrub biomass estimates for multiple purposes. Life 10(4): 33.

Ezquerro M, Pardos M, Diaz-Balteiro L, 2016. Operational research techniques used for addressing biodiversity objectives into forest management: an overview. Forests 7(10): 229.

Ferris R, Humphrey JW, 1999. A review of potential biodiversity indicators for application in British forests. Forestry 72: 313-328.

Forest Europe, 2020. State of Europe's forests. Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe, Madrid.

Forrester DI, Bauhus J, 2016. A review of processes behind diversity-productivity relationships in forests. Curr For Rep 2: 45-61.

Goded S, Ekroos J, Domínguez J, Azcárate JG, Guitián JA, Smith HG, 2019. Effects of eucalyptus plantations on avian and herb species richness and composition in North-West Spain. Glob Ecol Conserv 19: e00690.

Gurvich DE, Enrico L, Cingolani AM, 2005. Linking plant functional traits with post‐fire sprouting vigour in woody species in central Argentina. Austral Ecol 30 (8): 868-875.

Hartley MJ, 2002. Rationale and methods for conserving biodiversity in plantation forests. For Ecol Manage 155: 81-95.

Hunter ML, 1990. Wildlife, forests, and forestry: Principles of managing forests for biological diversity. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ. 370 pp.

Koh LP, Gardner TA, 2010. Conservation in human-modified landscapes. In: Conservation biology for all; Sodhi NS & Ehrlich PR (Eds). Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp: 236-261.

Korzukhin MD, Ter-Mikaelian MT, Wagner RG, 1996. Process versus empirical models: which approach for forest ecosystem management? Can J For Res 26(5): 879-887.

Lafond V, Cordonnier T, Courbaud B, 2015. Reconciling biodiversity conservation and timber production in mixed uneven-aged mountain forests: identification of ecological intensification pathways. Environ Manage 56(5): 1118-1133.

Lugo AE, 1992. Comparison of tropical tree plantations with secondary forests of similarage. Ecol Monogr 62: 1-41.

Lutz JA, Furniss TJ, Johnson DJ, Davies SJ, Allen D, Alonso A et al., 2018. Global importance of large‐diameter trees. Glob Ecol Biogeogr 27(7): 849-864.

Martín-Queller E, Gil-Tena A, Saura S, 2011. Species richness of woody plants in the landscapes of Central Spain: The role of management disturbances, environment and non-stationarity. J Veg Sci 22(2): 238-250.

Marto M, Reynolds KM, Borges JG, Bushenkov VA, Marques S, 2018. Combining decision support approaches for optimizing the selection of bundles of ecosystem services. Forests 9: 438.

Mikulová K, Jarolímek I, Bacigál T, Hegedüšová K, Májeková J, Medvecká J et al., 2019. The effect of non-native black pine (Pinus nigra JF Arnold) plantations on environmental conditions and undergrowth diversity. Forests 10(7): 548.

Monteiro-Henriques T, Fernandes PM, 2018. Regeneration of native forest species in mainland Portugal: identifying main drivers. Forests 9(11): 694.

Musavi T, Migliavacca M, Reichstein M, Kattge J, Wirth C, Black TA et al., 2017. Stand age and species richness dampen interannual variation of ecosystem-level photosynthetic capacity. Nat Ecol Evol 1(2): 1-7.

Newbold T, Hudson LN, Hill SLL, Contu S, Lysenko I, Senior RA et al., 2015. Global effects of land use on local terrestrial biodiversity. Nature 520: 45-50.

Nunes L, Tomé J, Tomé M, 2011. Prediction of annual tree growth and survival for thinned and unthinned even-aged maritime pine stands in Portugal from data with different time measurement intervals. For Ecol Manag 262: 1491-1499.

Oliveira A, 1999. Boas práticas florestais para o pinheiro bravo. Centro Pinus, Porto, Portugal.

Pate JS, Froend RH, Bowen BJ, Hansen A, Kuo J, 1990. Seedling growth and storage characteristics of seeder and resprouter species of Mediterranean-type ecosystems of SW Australia. Ann Bot 65: 585-601.

Patrício MS, 2006. Análise da potencialidade produtiva do castanheiro em Portugal. PhD Thesis. Universidade Técnica de Lisboa.

Patrício MS, Nunes L, 2017. Density management diagrams for sweet chestnut high-forest stands in Portugal. iForest-Biogeosci Forest 10(6): 865.

Pausas JG, Bradstock RA, Keith DA, Keeley JE, 2004. Plant functional traits in relation to fire in crown‐fire ecosystems. Ecology 85(4): 1085-1100.

Pinto I, 2004. Raw material characteristics of maritime pine (Pinus pinaster Ait.) and their influence on simulated sawing yield. VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.

Proença VM, Pereira HM, Guilherme J, Vicente L, 2010. Plant and bird diversity in natural forests and in native and exotic plantations in NW Portugal. Acta Oecol 36(2): 219-226.

R Core Team, 2020. R: A language and environment for statistical computing R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. https://wwwR-projectorg/

Roberge JM, Angelstam P, Villard MA, 2008. Specialised woodpeckers and naturalness in hemiboreal forests - Deriving quantitative targets for conservation planning. Biol Conserv 141(4): 997-1012.

Rodrigues AR, Botequim B, Tavares C, Pécurto P, Borges JG, 2020. Addressing soil protection concerns in forest ecosystem management under climate change. For Ecosyst 7: 1-11.

Silva V, Catry FX, Fernandes PM, Rego FC, Bugalho MN, 2020. Trade‐offs between fire hazard reduction and conservation in a Natura 2000 shrub-grassland mosaic. Appl Veg Sci 23(1): 39-52.

Similä M, Kouki J, Mönkkönen M, Sippola AL, Huhta E, 2006. Co-variation and indicators of species diversity: can richness of forest-dwelling species be predicted in northern boreal forests? Ecol Indic 6: 686-700.

Smith GF, Gittings T, Wilson M, French L, Oxbrough A, O'Donoghue S et al., 2007. Identifying practical indicators of biodiversity for stand-level management of plantation forests. In: Plantation forests and biodiversity: oxymoron or opportunity? Springer, pp: 67-91.

Stapanian MA, Cassel DL, Cline SP, 1997. Regional patterns of local diversity of trees: associations with anthropogenic disturbance. For Ecol Manag 93: 33-44.

Stephens SS, Wagner MR, 2007. Forest plantations and biodiversity: a fresh perspective. J For 105(6): 307-313.

Tomé M, Oliveira T, Soares P, 2006. O modelo Globulus 3.0. Publicações GIMREF-RC2/2006; Instituto Superior de Agronomia: Lisboa, Portugal.

Winter S, McRoberts RE, Bertini R, Chirici G, Bastrup-Birk A, Rondeux J et al., 2011. The need for harmonized estimates of forest biodiversity indicators. In: National forest inventories: Contributions to forest biodiversity assessments. Springer: Dordrecht, The Netherlands.

Yamaura Y, Lindenmayer D, Yamada Y, Gong H, Matsuura T, Mitsuda Y, Masaki T, 2019. A spatially-explicit empirical model for assessing conservation values of conifer plantations. For Ecol Manag 444: 393-404.

Zhang Y, Chen HYH, Reich PB, 2012. Forest productivity increases with evenness, species richness and trait variation: a global meta-analysis. J Ecol 100: 742-749.

How to Cite
CosovicM. (2022). Using inventory variables for practical biodiversity assessment in plantation stands. Forest Systems, 31(2), e016.
Research Articles