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Ancient forests, a conservation priority

Daniel VALLAURI WWF France

Š Daniel Vallauri

15/11/2011 Barcelona

Bosco Pavari reserve (PN del Gargano, Italia)

Ancient forests, a conservation priority

Shorter title


Secondary information can go here 1 – Nature as a reference XX-XX Month, Year

2 – Naturalness values • Additional information can run 3 – Mediterranean & macaronesian reality • inUnderneath if necessary 4 – Work progress 5 – A last word

Ancient forest, a conservation priority

1 Š Daniel Vallauri

Nature as a reference

Zofinsky prales reserve (Czech republic)

Broadleaved lowland forests Poland: Bialowieza forest – one of the most natural forests in Europe. On 10,500 ha, of which half has been strictly protected for over 80 years, deadwood contributes to 25% of the total above ground wood biomass. Species richness exceed more than 12000 species in NP.

60 to >100 Š Daniel Vallauri

m3 of deawood per ha

Bialowieza forest NP (Poland)

Oak and beech forests France: Fontainebleau forest – a 136 hectare reserve protected since 1853 with mainly beech, oak, hornbeam and lime. Volumes of deadwood are 142-256 m3/ha. The storm regime (one every 25 years) produces constant deadwood together with natural fall of trees with age.

92 to 145 Š Bernard Boisson

m3 of deawood per ha

Fontainebleau forest (France)

Beech forests A lot of data and sites studied Europe. Havesova (Slovakia) was found to have an average of 121 m3/ha of deadwood. Izvoarele Nerei - a 5028 hectare forest reserve protected since 1975, is one of the largest virgin beech forest in Europe: deadwood are 78121 m3/ha.

78 to 121 Š Daniel Vallauri

m3 of deawood per ha

Izvoarele Nerei reserve (Romania)

Subalpine forests

Š Daniel Vallauri

Subalpine old-growth forest remnants are rare. However, small patches or single trees are here among the oldest of the continent, with for example Pinus cembra over 800 y-old. Due to inaccessibility and rural abandonment since 1950s deadwood amount could be important, and its decomposition is the slow in dry and cold climate.

God Tamangur reserve (Switzerland)

Ancient forest, a conservation priority

2 Š Daniel Vallauri

Naturalness values

Retezat NP (Romania)

Ancient forests, a conservation priority

Nature as a reference Some lessons learnt

- diversity - nativeness - structural complexity - maturity or old-growthness features (micro-habitats, deadwood and veteran trees) - dynamics (phases of sylvigenesis) - continuity in space - ancientness

Š Daniel Vallauri

• Key ecological qualities and features of forest ecosystem

Bosco Pavari reserve, Gargano NP (Italy)

Ancient forests, a conservation priority

Nature as a reference Some lessons learnt Criteria



Associated functions and taxa


Number of tree species


Phytophytes, fungi, lichens

Associated habitats

% of natural openings


Plants, insects, birds, large herbivores

Microhabitats of living trees



% (of area, cover, basal area)

Structural complexity

% of unevenaged stands

+ ++

Number of veteran/ large trees Maturity

+++ Deadwood volume and diversity +

cavity dwelling species, bats Genetic importance Birds, bats 25% of species richness, cavity dwelling and saproxylics, fungi, lichens


Complete sylvigenesis

Functional importance, regeneration

Continuity in space

Connectivity of forest species

+ or +++

Large mammals, species with low dispersal potential


Time with forest cover (>150 y)


Geophytes, ant dispersed species, fertility

Ancient forests, a conservation priority

Diversity The great inventory > 5000 species on 300 ha • > 10000 espèces on 100 km2 • habitats • microhabitats • life insurance of the ecosystem

Adapted from Vallauri 2003

Règne Animal Insectes Hyménoptères Coléoptères Lépidoptères Diptères Mammifères Oiseaux Reptiles et Ampibiens Poissons Règne Végétal Plantes Plantes à fleurs Fougères Mousses et hépatiques Autres Champignons Lichens Algues Total des espèces Pourcentage

Forêt de Forêt de Bialowieza Fontainebleau 8 833 71 % > 6 038 52 % ≈ 8 500 68 % > 5 700 49 % 3 000 24 % 2 000 16 % > 3 500 30 % 1 000 8% 1 700 15 % 800 6% 62 <1% <1% 55 228 2% 260 2% 19 <1% 23 <1% 24 <1% 1 244 10 % 1 810 15 % 990 8% 1 350 11 % 953 8% 37 < 1 % 254 2% 460 4% > 2 334 19 % 3 875 33 % > 2 000 16 % 2 700 23 % 334 3% 675 6% 500 4% > 12 411 > 11 638 100 % 100 %

Ancient forests, a conservation priority

© RN de la Massane

Facts & figures Endangered biodiversity • 25 to 30% of deadwood dwelling species • many umbrella saproxylic species are listed (e.g. Natura 2000…) • database and red-lists of deadwood dwelling species need to be enforced in Europe • many gaps (fungi, lichens) Hermit beetle, Osmoderma eremita

Ancient forests, a conservation priority

Human footprint Ancientness Main forests in 1749-1790

Compararison to current forests (CLC 2006)

Source : Cassini, rĂŠalisation : WWF/INRA, 2011

Ancient forests, a conservation priority

Human footprint Ancientness 1749-1790

Mainforests ancient forests Main Currently deforested Mainly recent forests NotNotmapped mapped Not mapped

Ancient forests, a conservation priority

Human footprint Ancientness


La Maçana

Forests XVIIIth century Main ancient forests Currently deforested

Other Mostly recent forests Non forested during the period

Ancient forests, a conservation priority

Human footprint Another way to approach naturalness

Š D. Vallauri


Human footprint


Ancient forests, a conservation priority

Wildness The perceived nature

© B. Boisson






Ancient forest, a conservation priority

3 Š Daniel Vallauri

Mediterranean & macaronesian reality

Garonjanay NP (Gomera island, Spain)

Ancient forests, a conservation priority

MĂŠditerranean reality Mature/old forests

QuĂŠzel et MĂŠdail (2003)

Oro -mediterranean level

Š Daniel Vallauri

Pine forests with long living species like Pinus nigra pallasiana, P. eldreichii, P. uncinata, P. cembra, Cedrus atlantica.â&#x20AC;Ś

Olympus mountain (Greece)

Mountain level Old-growth beech forests occur in Italy (e.g. Sassofratino, Abbruzzo, Gargano NP), Croatia (Velebit NP), France (La Massane, La SainteBaume, Aiguines). From Greece to the Spain, several fir species are considered relict of former forests.


Š Daniel Vallauri

> 50 m3/ha

Bosco Filzy strict reserve (PN del Gargano, Italy)

Supra -mediterranean level

© J. & T. Chirk

White oak could be quite old and large in forest stand (Valbone, Estella, Païolive in France). Those forests have been protected by monasteries or local rules and needs for grazing. Since the 1960’s they started to recover their forest dynamics.

Bois de Païolive (France)

Meso -mediterranean level

Š Daniel Vallauri

Mature holm-oak forests are rare (like in Fango biosphere reserve in Corsica), but with also white oak and cork oak forests they are rich in terms of species, microhabitats. Although young stands are common, the more mature one need to be more accurately inventoried.

Fango biosphere reserve (Corsica)

Thermo -mediterranean level Patches of old matorral, with Pistacia lentiscus, Arbutus unedo, Phyllerea sp., Erica arborescens, Myrtus communis... of large size and age. Examples in Corsica, Portugal, that need to be better studied.

Š Daniel Vallauri

Main gap

Mata solitario strict reserve (PN Arrabida, Portugal)

Ancient forest, a conservation priority

4 Š Bernard Boisson

Work in progress

Fontainebleau forest (France)

Ancient forests, a conservation priority

Work in progress Research & Development • Filling the gaps • Studying associated biodiversity and functions • Methodologies to evaluate naturalness and human footprint • Inventory of sites • Inspiring forest management and conservation

Ancient forests, a conservation priority

Work in progress Inpiring managers • Defining a comprehensive policy - Red lists - Veteran trees/deadwood strategy - ‘good conservation status’ (Natura 2000) • Naturalness values restoration - Single veteran or dead tree - Leave islands (<10 ha) - Small strict reserves (>100 ha) - Large protected area (>10000 ha) • Connecting species - green infrastruture - Close-to-nature silviculture

Ancient forests, a conservation priority

• Since 2005 • An educational toolkit for nature museum and schools • A real snag that teaches biodiversity et forest ecology • 3 languages (french, italian, catalan) • >50.000 persons, mainly kids • poster, DVD…

© Evolition

Work in progress Education

© Evolition © Evolition

Š Daniel Vallauri

A last word

Garonjanay NP (Gomera island, Spain)

2011 wwf vallauri