Woodland key habitat contribution to preserve biological diversity in Lithuania: assessing the difference between 2005 and 2017

https://doi.org/10.17221/64/2021-JFSCitation:

Ruškytė I., Brazaitis G., Manton M., Preikša Ž. (2021): Woodland key habitat contribution to preserve biological diversity: assessing the difference between 2005 and 2017. J. For. Sci., 67: 436–448.

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In response to the degradation of forest ecosystems, their habitats and the loss of species, many formal conservation policies and voluntary forest conservation tools have been proposed and implemented. The woodland key habitat (WKH) is one such initiative that aims to protect biodiversity. This generally involves two key actions: (i) the creation of policy (conservation action) and (ii) the consequences of the policy or initiative in the field. However, the final step of measuring their success in the field is often missing. The aim of this study is to assess the contribution of the WKH initiative to conserve biodiversity in Lithuania. We compared the changes in spatial distribution, species assemblages and richness within the WKH network between 2005 and 2017. Results showed that the spatial distribution of WKHs decreased in number and by area after 12 years. However, species occurrence, abundance and richness of the WHK network generally increased. In conclusion, we found the WKH initiative has contributed to the conservation of forest habitats and biodiversity in Lithuania. However, the future of the WKH network is uncertain due to the current voluntary system, lack of support and funding.

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