There is a trade-off between forest productivity and animal biodiversity in Europe

While forest productivity and biodiversity are expected to be correlated, prioritizing either forest productivity or biodiversity can result in different management. Spatial quantification of the congruence between areas suitable for either one can inform planning. Here we quantify the relationship between net primary productivity of European forests and biodiversity of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and butterflies both separately and in combination, and map their spatial congruence. We used richness maps obtained by stacking species distribution models for these animal species, and average net primary production from 2000 to 2012 using moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) data. We tested how biodiversity and primary productivity are correlated and quantified the spatial congruence of these two sources. We show the areas where high or low productivity co-occur with high or low biodiversity using a quantile-based overlay analysis. Productivity was positively correlated to overall biodiversity and mammal, herptile and butterfly biodiversity, but biodiversity of birds showed a weak negative correlation. There were no significant differences in the strength of relationship across species groups, while herptiles had stronger relationships with productivity compared to other groups. Overlap analysis revealed significant spatial overlap between productivity and biodiversity in all species groups, except for birds. High value areas for both productivity and biodiversity in all species groups, except birds, co-occurred in the Mediterranean and temperate regions. The areas with high biodiversity of birds are mainly found in the boreal areas of Europe, while for all other species groups these areas are mostly located on the Iberian Peninsula and the Balkan ranges. Based on the presented maps, areas where regulating wood production activities to conserve species can be identified. But the maps also help to identify areas where either biodiversity or productivity is high and focusing on just one aspect is more straightforward.
© The Author(s) 2023. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Version of Scholarly Record of this Article is published in Biodiversity and Conservation, 2023, available online at: . Keywords: productivity-biodiversity relationship; spatial congruence; species richness; forest management; trade-offs; conservation planning; habitat value; net primary production.
Khamila, C.N., Groen, T.A., Toxopeus, A.G. et al. There is a trade-off between forest productivity and animal biodiversity in Europe. Biodivers Conserv 32, 1879–1899 (2023).