Benjamin Ramage, UC Berkeley, bsramage@berkeley.edu (Presenter)


Strategies for species conservation in forested landscapes generally rely upon knowledge of species-specific habitat requirements and/or the establishment of reserves. Here we present a novel strategy for situations in which ecological understanding is limited and reserve creation is unlikely. Central to our approach is the assumption that most species are more likely to persist if different parts of their ranges are disturbed at different times. In a production forest landscape, this premise can be utilized via optimized harvest plans that minimize the number of species experiencing range-wide harvest in any single interval. To explore the potential benefits of this method, we simulated responses to our optimized harvest plans as well as several alternatives and an unharvested control. Our method consistently conserved as many species as the alternative harvest plans, often dramatically outperforming the alternatives and approaching unharvested species numbers. Benefits were most pronounced for species with aggregated distributions and limited dispersal. Our approach can be integrated into existing conservation programs and thus holds great potential as a general species conservation strategy in production forest landscapes.