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Title [en]
Landscape structure, patterns of biodiversity and conservation strategies in the Baltic Sea region
Abstract [en]
Natural landscapes vary substantially among different parts of the Baltic Sea region. Northern parts are forested, whereas agricultural and urban landscapes are common in the south. Harmonization of biodiversity conservation policies of EU member states is a part of the European integration process. Due to landscape variation, patterns of biodiversity may be very different in different countries, which would make an effective harmonization difficult. For instance, possibilities to use a reserve network as a tool in biodiversity conservation are better when small areas contain a substantial part of the total biodiversity. We will analyze landscape structure and patterns of species distributions at several scales indifferent EU states around the Baltic Sea. We will use forest biotopes as a model system. Our own fieldwork will be concentrated on vascular plants and we will use published data of other taxa. Our hypothesis is that the effects of landscape configuration on species distributions depend on the scale of landscape patterns. Furthermore, we expect that there are systematic differences among species depending on their ecological characteristics. In that case, management actions are most effective when they are applied in a scale appropriate to focal taxa. At the first part of the study, we will determine which landscape characteristics and scales are important for species distributions in our study areas in Sweden and the Baltic countries. Within each region, we will carry out own inventories of forest field layer taxa at the scales of 5 × 5 m and 50 × 50 m. We will integrate smaller scales with 5 × 5 km and 50× 50 km data from secondary sources. We will then use the most important landscape characteristics to describe the variation in landscape structure and to test how they explain species distributions in other parts of the Baltic Sea region. Finally, we will carry out a gap analysis to assess the efficiency of management strategies in different landscapes and to discuss the management and governance implications of landscape variation.
Publications (1 of 1) Show all publications
Vinter, T., Dinnetz, P., Danzer, U. & Lehtilä, K. (2016). The relationship between landscape configuration and plant species richness in forests is dependent on habitat preferences of species. European Journal of Forest Research, 135(6), 1071-1082
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The relationship between landscape configuration and plant species richness in forests is dependent on habitat preferences of species
2016 (English)In: European Journal of Forest Research, ISSN 1612-4669, E-ISSN 1612-4677, Vol. 135, no 6, p. 1071-1082Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

To assess the effects of landscape configuration on local plant species richness, we tested whether local species richness of forest understory plants is affected by the total forest area and forest edge length in the adjacent landscape. We also tested whether the landscape effect on species richness is different for forest and edge species. We estimated species richness from 113 forest sites in four regions in Northern Europe. At each site, we studied two plots, one at the edge and one in the core of the forest. Total forested area and forest edge length in circles with a 1-km radius, together with plot-specific variables of environmental conditions and temporal continuity of forests, were recorded at each plot. The amount of forest and the length of the forest edge in the adjacent landscape had a significant positive effect on local species richness of all understory plant species. As expected, edge species were positively affected by increasing length of the forest edge in the landscape, but surprisingly there was no effect of forest area on species richness of forest species. Temporal forest continuity had a negative effect on species richness of edge species but no effect on species richness of forest species. Our results suggest that forest edge length had a stronger landscape effect on understory plant species richness than forest area. Implications of these findings for the management of forest landscapes depend on priorities given to different species groups in biodiversity conservation, i.e. if emphasis is in total species richness or species richness of forest or edge species.

Landscape species pool, Spatial mass effect, Landscape configuration, Dispersal, Landscape heterogeneity, Edge effects
National Category
Research subject
Baltic and East European studies
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-30922 (URN)10.1007/s10342-016-0994-3 (DOI)000388105400006 ()2-s2.0-84988358448 (Scopus ID)
The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, A064-2007
Available from: 2016-09-29 Created: 2016-09-29 Last updated: 2022-07-05Bibliographically approved
Principal InvestigatorLehtilä, Kari
Co-InvestigatorDinnétz, Patrik
Coordinating organisation
Södertörn University
2008-01-01 - 2010-12-31
Keywords [sv]
Östersjö- och Östeuropaforskning
Keywords [en]
Baltic and East European studies
National Category
Environmental SciencesEcology
DiVA, id: project:1708Project, id: A064-2007_OSS

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