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Applying the Delphi method to assess impacts of forest management on biodiversity and habitat preservation

Author:
Filyushkina, Anna, Strange, Niels, Löf, Magnus, Ezebilo, Eugene E., Boman, Mattias
Source:
Forest ecology and management 2018 v.409 pp. 179-189
ISSN:
0378-1127
Subject:
Delphi method, biodiversity, clearcutting, dead wood, e-mail, expert opinion, experts, forests, habitat conservation, habitats, managers, models, scientists, stand age, timber production, trees, Scandinavia
Abstract:
This study applied a structured expert elicitation technique, the Delphi method, to identify the impacts of five forest management alternatives and several forest characteristics on the preservation of biodiversity and habitats in the boreal zone of the Nordic countries. The panel of experts consisted of a number of scientists in the field. The data was collected using a semi-structured questionnaire distributed via e-mail in two rounds. Our findings demonstrated that an increase in management intensity for timber production is likely to have a negative effect on the biodiversity and habitats with intense management alternatives such as a “clear-cutting system” resulting in the strongest adverse impact. The presence of deadwood, mixture of trees of different sizes and increase in stand age were expected to promote preservation of biodiversity and habitats. However, there was little agreement between experts regarding the functional form that relationships between preservation of biodiversity and forest characteristics take. The Delphi method was found useful in investigating the existing knowledge base and capable of contributing to a more comprehensive assessment for decision support as a valuable addition to on-going empirical and modeling efforts. The findings could assist forest managers in developing forest management strategies that generate benefits from timber production while taking into account the trade-offs with biodiversity goals.
Agid:
5848213