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Forest biodiversity and woody biomass harvesting

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Donner, Deahn M.; Wigley, T. Bently; Miller, Darren A.

Year Published

2017

Publication

In: Efroymson, R.A.; Langholtz, M.H.; Johnson, K.E.; Stokes, B.J., eds. Advancing domestic resources for a thriving bioeconomy, volume 2: Environmental sustainability effects of select scenarios from volume 1. ORNL/TM-2016/727. Oak Ridge, TN: U.S. Department of Energy, Oak Ridge National Laboratory: 398-447. Chapter 11. https://doi.org/10.2172/1338837.

Abstract

With the expected increase in demand for woody biomass to help meet renewable energy needs, one principal sustainability question has been whether this material can be removed from forest stands while still conserving biological diversity and retaining ecosystem functioning (Hecht et al. 2009; Berch, Morris, and Malcolm 2011; Ridley et al. 2013). In general, biodiversity is the variety of life and can be considered at the genetic, population, species, community, and ecosystem levels (Berch, Morris, and Malcolm 2011). Biodiversity is often character- ized as the number of species (or other taxonomic entity) and the relative abundance of each species in a defined space at a given time. A larger species pool is generally believed to indicate improved ecosystem functioning (i.e., health, resilience, goods, and services), especially in landscapes with intensified use (Loreau et al. 2001). Indices of species richness and evenness of their distribution (e.g., common or rare) are often used to measure local diversity and to compare the diversity across geographic areas. Relative abundance metrics, however, are not always good predictors of species importance for multiple reasons, but the scale of observation often dictates results (Godfray and Lawton 2001). More emphasis is being placed on understanding biodiversity through functional shifts in species assemblages in response to changing environments (i.e., ecosystem functioning) (Loreau et al. 2001; Hooper et al. 2005). Uncertainties exist on whether shifts in species assemblages, each with their own set of traits, influence ecosystem functioning even when biodiversity metrics may be similar.

Citation

Donner, Deahn M.; Wigley, T. Bently; Miller, Darren A. 2017. Forest biodiversity and woody biomass harvesting. In: Efroymson, R.A.; Langholtz, M.H.; Johnson, K.E.; Stokes, B.J., eds. Advancing domestic resources for a thriving bioeconomy, volume 2: Environmental sustainability effects of select scenarios from volume 1. ORNL/TM-2016/727. Oak Ridge, TN: U.S. Department of Energy, Oak Ridge National Laboratory: 398-447. Chapter 11. https://doi.org/10.2172/1338837.

Last updated on: August 23, 2017