Scientists have deemed existing protected areas in European forests insufficient to halt and reverse biodiversity loss resulting from ongoing intensification of management. In Sweden, protected areas are therefore complemented with the so-called areas of high conservation value (AHCVs), that is, landscapes encompassing both protected and assumed biodiversity-valuable areas as well as surrounding land, where managers should pay increased attention to biodiversity. However, it is not known whether AHCVs are chosen so that the species they are intended to benefit inhabit such AHCVs to a higher degree. We investigated whether the occurrence and abundance of bird species that may be particularly vulnerable to intense forest management were higher in Swedish forest landscapes proposed as AHCVs compared with other forest landscapes. To this end, we fitted a joint species distribution model to bird count data for 70 forest bird species from a standardized Swedish bird monitoring scheme. Twelve of the 20 forest specialists (60%) were detected to occur more often inside AHCVs than outside, whereas no forest specialist was less likely to occur inside AHCVs. For forest generalists, the corresponding figures were 28% and 18%, respectively. Six of 15 red-listed species (40%) were detectably more likely to occur inside AHCVs. The relationship between AHCV status of landscapes and the abundance of individual species was not as consistently negative or positive. The higher occurrence of specialists and threatened species inside AHCVs than outside of them suggests that if managed correctly, AHCVs are important habitat for a considerable part of the specialized forest avifauna in Sweden. We conclude that AHCVs represent an opportunity for designing green infrastructure benefitting Swedish forest biodiversity.
Antal sidor14
StatusPublished - 2023 juni 4

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Ekologi
  • Naturgeografi


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