iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


The forest biodiversity artery: towards forest management for saproxylic conservation

Franco Mason (1)   , Livia Zapponi (2)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 9, Issue 2, Pages 205-216 (2015)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor1657-008
Published: Oct 26, 2015 - Copyright © 2015 SISEF

Review Papers

One of the objectives of forest conservation is the set aside of unharvested areas. However, the fragmentation and lack of connectivity of protected areas make the integration of conservation measures in productive forests essential. Strategies to integrate conservation of saproxylic biodiversity in forest management have been developed, but often considering only specific aspects or remaining preliminary otherwise. As the impact of climate change and anthropogenic stresses increases, the development and the synthesis of this approach is crucial. We reviewed the key literature on forest management for biodiversity conservation, integrating forest science perspective to provide a practical management framework. Our goal is to present a management framework that could contribute to the effective preservation of forest insect biodiversity at the landscape scale, without high economic efforts, and addressing the conflicts that still jeopardize sustainable forest management. The results of our review support the creation of micro-reserves inside productive forests, to support large reserves in landscape conservation strategies. Micro-reserves increase the resilience of forest ecosystems to anthropogenic disturbances, through the development of a heterogeneous structure, maximizing microhabitat availability. Modeling forest management and harvest on local natural disturbance would extend the benefits of spatio-temporal heterogeneity in productive forests. Variable retention harvest systems, applied at the landscape scale, are a feasible and adaptable strategy to preserve and increase biodiversity, safeguarding structural legacies such as senescent trees and deadwood inside the productive matrix. The operational shift, from the stand to the forest landscape, is fundamental to extend the benefits of conservation measures. The Forest Biodiversity Artery, composed by several micro-reserves or îlots de senescence, connected by corridors of habitat trees and deadwood, constitutes a network that would deliver old-growth forests attributes to the productive matrix. This planning instrument would support forest connectivity, and socioeconomic constraints.


Biodiversity, Deadwood, Gap, Habitat Tree, Integrative Conservation, Landscape, Microhabitat, Retention

Authors’ address

Franco Mason
National Center for Study and Conservation of Forest Biodiversity “Bosco Fontana”, Laboratory for the Taxonomy of Invertebrates (CNBFVR-LANABIT). Via Tomaso Da Vico 1, 37123 Verona (Italy)
Livia Zapponi
National Center for the Study and Conservation of Forest Biodiversity “Bosco Fontana”, Strada Mantova 29, 46045 Marmirolo, MN (Italy)
National Research Council (CNR), Agro-environmental and Forest Biology Institute, Via Salaria Km 29.300, 00015 Monterotondo Scalo, RM (Italy)

Corresponding author


Mason F, Zapponi L (2015). The forest biodiversity artery: towards forest management for saproxylic conservation. iForest 9: 205-216. - doi: 10.3832/ifor1657-008

Academic Editor

Massimo Faccoli

Paper history

Received: Apr 01, 2015
Accepted: Aug 18, 2015

First online: Oct 26, 2015
Publication Date: Apr 26, 2016
Publication Time: 2.30 months

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