Rationale and Methods for Conserving Biodiversity in Plantation Forests

Rationale and Methods for Conserving Biodiversity in Plantation Forests


When compared to degraded lands, developed lands, or areas of intensive industrial agriculture, forest plantations can positively contribute to biodiversity conservation. However, when monoculture stands of exotic trees, or native trees not typically found in single-species stands are used for plantations, they have been found to have impoverished flora and fauna compared with natural forest.

Conclusions & Takeaways

Improvements to biodiversity can be made without sacrificing fiber production. In the form of species selection favoring native versus exotic; landscape-level planning for juxtaposing stands with diverse age and composition; leaving large-diameter trees standing in clumps or as individuals when harvesting; leaving buffer strips of natural vegetation around riparian areas and around the plantation; encouraging mixed species verses monoculture; reducing the use of herbicide, scarification, plowing, or other damaging methods in site-preparation (except for cases when fire is appropriate for site-preparation); thinning earlier and heavier than normal; and overall managing for heterogeneity in the system.



Hartley MJ. Rationale and methods for conserving biodiversity in plantation forests. Forest Ecology and Management. 2002;155:81–95. doi:10.1016/s0378-1127(01)00549-7.


  • Department of Wildlife Ecology, University of Maine, Orono, ME, USA