Edge influence on vegetation at natural and anthropogenic edges of boreal forests in Canada and Fennoscandia (pages 550–562)
Karen A. Harper, S. Ellen Macdonald, Michael S. Mayerhofer, Shekhar R. Biswas, Per-Anders Esseen, Kristoffer Hylander, Katherine J. Stewart, Azim U. Mallik, Pierre Drapeau, Bengt-Gunnar Jonsson, Daniel Lesieur, Jari Kouki and Yves Bergeron
Article first published online: 1 APR 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12398
Edges created by forest harvesting do not appear to have as strong, extensive or persistent influence on vegetation in boreal as in tropical or temperate forested ecosystems. We attribute this apparent resistance to shorter canopy heights, inherent heterogeneity in boreal forests and their adaptation to frequent natural disturbance. Nevertheless, notable differences between forest structure responses to natural (fire) and anthropogenic (cut) edges raise concerns about biodiversity implications of extensive creation of anthropogenic edges. By highlighting universal responses to edge influence in boreal forests that are significant irrespective of edge or forest type, and those which vary by edge type, we provide a context for the conservation of boreal forests.