Key environmental services provided by the forests – University of Copenhagen

Key environmental services provided by the Nordic and Baltic forests

Amongst key environmental services provided by the Nordic and Baltic forests are carbon sequestration, water protection and biodiversity - all linked to the quality of soil:

  • C sequestration in biomass is relatively well described through changes in the standing stock of wood, whereas the processes and changes in the potentially long term C pool – the soil - are still largely unknown.
  • Water protection is closely linked to forests through their filtration of pollutants from rainwater and air, to forest management in the riparian zones and peatlands and regulation of the water flow.
  • Biodiversity in the Nordic forests encompasses at least 25000 species of animals and plants that need protection through conservation measures designed to minimize adverse impacts during harvest operations and silvicultural treatments, or through establishment of forest reserves.
  • Soil quality is indicated by for example the soil’s nutrient and water status, erosion risks, and C storage potentials.

All these environmental services are affected by various types of forest management, and knowledge on how the forest management can be used to maintain and enhance these services is crucial to sound decision making in the forest sector and in policy development.

Such knowledge will support the forest management in adapting to new conditions in order to continue and increase the provisioning of valuable wood products and clean water, while at the same time maintaining and restoring biological diversity and other environmental services from the forest ecosystem.