Habitat Quality Assessment and Modelling for Forest Biodiversity and Sustainability

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Abstract

Safeguarding biodiversity has been one of the most important issues in the environmental and forest policies since 1990s. The problem remains in terms of decisions and knowledge on where to set appropriate conservation targets. Hence, we need detailed and reliable information about forest structure and composition and methods for estimating this information over the whole spatial domain. The approach presented aims to develop a practical tool for conservation planners and foresters to evaluate alternative conservation plans to expand and connect protected areas while identifying key forest habitats and its associated biodiversity value. In order to reach this goal and learn more about habitat quality for woodland species in boreal forests and spatial characteristics of forest landscape, we used a combination of remote sensing and field data derived from the Multi-source Finnish National Forest Inventory (MS-NFI) Habitat quality assessment and suitability maps constitute a useful approach for designing management plans to improve biodiversity conservation. In this chapter, we present an approach and tools for assessing biodiversity values in both managed and protected forest areas. The approach is intended to assist decision-making concerning protection of valuable habitats and management of natural resources. The different habitat quality models presented are used as a surrogate for biodiversity value. The indicators and the models developed reflect a sound scientific basis that can be implemented in other European countries that invest in national forest inventories. Within this framework, focusing on forests in Finland and on end-user needs, this effort constitutes the first attempt undertaken at the landscape level to use National Forest Inventory data for forest biodiversity monitoring and management.