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    There is increasing interest worldwide in managing forests to maintain or improve biodiversity, enhance ecosystem services and assure long-term sustainability of forest resources. An important goal of forest management is to increase stand diversity, provide wildlife habitat and improve forest species diversity. We synthesize results from natural spruce forests in southeast Alaska and suggest strategies for managing Sitka spruce plantations in other parts of the world to benefit biodiversity and enhance a variety of forest ecosystem services. We also discuss the roles of fungi in increasing both biological and structural diversity in Sitka spruce forests. New silvicultural systems that use partial cutting in older spruce forests could alleviate some of the problems associated with conventional even aged management and increase both stand structural diversity and biodiversity. We found that mixed red alder-conifer stands in Alaska provided more heterogeneous structures than the pure conifer stands that typically develop after clearcutting. Well-planned silvicultural systems that include broadleaved species such as alder or birch could provide trees for timber production, improve wildlife habitat and a variety of other ecosystem services that are often compromised in young pure conifer forests.

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    • Visit PNW's Publication Request Page to request a hard copy of this publication.
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    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Deal, Robert L.; Hennon, Paul; O'Hanlon, Richard; D'Amore, David. 2014. Lessons from native spruce forests in Alaska: managing Sitka spruce plantations worldwide to benefit biodiversity and ecosystem services. Forestry. 87: 193-208.


    ecosystem services, forest management, Sitka spruce, red alder, conifer-hardwood forests

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