What is the impact of continuous cover forestry compared to clearcut forestry on stand-level biodiversity in boreal and temperate forests? A systematic review protocol


The ecosystem services provided by forests are essential for societal well-being. Production forests are increasingly expected to provide a range of ecosystem services in addition to wood biomass, as well as the biodiversity upon which many of these services depend. Production forests can be managed using different methods that affect the habitat provided and the biodiversity supported. Clearcutting (CC) is a widely used forest management system that has been criticised due to its negative effects on biodiversity. Alternative less intensive forest management systems have been developed with the hope of producing comparable levels of biomass with fewer negative impacts on forest biodiversity. One of these alternatives is continuous cover forestry (CCF); a management system that always maintains tree cover in an uneven-aged production forest stand. Many studies have been conducted which contrast the effects of CCF and CC on biodiversity with varying results. The aim of the review is to explore how CCF system compares to CC in terms of outcomes for terrestrial forest biodiversity.


Due to the diverse vocabulary used to describe CCF, a systematic search for terms was carried out and a comprehensive search string will be used to maximise the likelihood of finding all relevant papers. We will gather, summarise and synthesise primary field studies, both peer-reviewed and grey literature, from temperate and boreal forest comparing biodiversity in CCF and CC stands. Species richness and abundance of plants, animals and fungi will be used to conduct a meta-analysis. Other biodiversity indicators and indices will be used for a narrative synthesis. As the effects of forest management depend on local conditions, we place a special emphasis on exploring the influence of various effect modifiers.


Alternative forest management, Even-aged silviculture, Uneven-aged silviculture, Partial harvest, Selection harvest, Clear cut, Clear fell

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