The latest research results encourage us to favour mixed forests in forestry. Mixed forests are a cost-effective way of maintaining biodiversity.
The Global Forest Biodiversity Initiative (GFBI), a global network of researchers, analysed material based on over 30 million trees and 8,737 tree species in over 777,000 permanent sample plots around the world. The analysis shows that the abundance of tree species increases the quantity of biomass output in forests. In relative terms, the highest impact can be seen in boreal coniferous forests. The results show that the extinction of tree species will not only reduce biodiversity at an accelerating rate, but also biomass output and carbon absorption in forest ecosystems.
The researchers believe that the productivity of forests would fall by about 66 per cent, if the number of trees remained unchanged but the number of tree species in forests fell to one. In monetary terms, this would mean a loss of 500 billion dollars per year globally speaking. Based on the research, the financial benefits of forest biodiversity seem to be more than double the costs of biodiversity conservation.
The results were published in the distinguished Science journal. Researchers from the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) took part in the research, exploiting the materials of the sample plots set up in Finland in connection with the EU-funded FunDivEUROPE (Functional Significance of Forest Biodiveristy in Europe) project.