Forests are among the most species rich habitats and the way they are managed influences their capacity to protect biodiversity. To fulfill increasing wood demands in the future, planted and non-planted wood production will need to expand. While biodiversity assessments usually focus on the impacts of deforestation, the effects of wood harvest are mostly not considered, especially not in a spatially explicit manner. We present here a global approach to refine the representation of forest management through allocating future wood production to planted and non-planted forests. Wood production, following wood consumption projections of three Shared Socioeconomic Pathways, was allocated using likelihood maps for planted and production forests. On a global scale, plantations for wood production were projected to increase by 45–65% and harvested area in non-planted forests by 1–17%. The biodiversity impacts of changes in wood production patterns were estimated by applying two commonly used indicators: (1) changes in species richness and (2) changes in habitat-suitable ranges of single species. The impact was analyzed using forest cover changes as reference. Our results show that, although forest cover changes have the largest impact on biodiversity, changes in wood production also have a significant effect. The magnitude of impacts caused by changes of wood production substantially differs by region and taxa. Given the importance of forest production changes in net negative emission pathways, more focus should be put on assessing the effects of future changes in wood production patterns as part of overall land use change impacts.
Authors and Publishers
Verburg, Peter H.
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