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Portrait of Henrik Smith. Photo.

Henrik Smith


Portrait of Henrik Smith. Photo.

Areas of high conservation value support specialist forest birds


  • Tristan Bakx
  • Martin Green
  • Cecilia Akselsson
  • Åke Lindström
  • Øystein Opedal
  • Henrik G. Smith

Summary, in English

Scientists have deemed existing protected areas in European forests insufficient to halt and reverse biodiversity loss resulting from ongoing intensification of management. In Sweden, protected areas are therefore complemented with the so-called areas of high conservation value (AHCVs), that is, landscapes encompassing both protected and assumed biodiversity-valuable areas as well as surrounding land, where managers should pay increased attention to biodiversity. However, it is not known whether AHCVs are chosen so that the species they are intended to benefit inhabit such AHCVs to a higher degree. We investigated whether the occurrence and abundance of bird species that may be particularly vulnerable to intense forest management were higher in Swedish forest landscapes proposed as AHCVs compared with other forest landscapes. To this end, we fitted a joint species distribution model to bird count data for 70 forest bird species from a standardized Swedish bird monitoring scheme. Twelve of the 20 forest specialists (60%) were detected to occur more often inside AHCVs than outside, whereas no forest specialist was less likely to occur inside AHCVs. For forest generalists, the corresponding figures were 28% and 18%, respectively. Six of 15 red-listed species (40%) were detectably more likely to occur inside AHCVs. The relationship between AHCV status of landscapes and the abundance of individual species was not as consistently negative or positive. The higher occurrence of specialists and threatened species inside AHCVs than outside of them suggests that if managed correctly, AHCVs are important habitat for a considerable part of the specialized forest avifauna in Sweden. We conclude that AHCVs represent an opportunity for designing green infrastructure benefitting Swedish forest biodiversity.


  • Dept of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science
  • Biodiversity and Conservation Science
  • Biodiversity
  • BECC: Biodiversity and Ecosystem services in a Changing Climate
  • LU Profile Area: Nature-based future solutions
  • Centre for Environmental and Climate Science (CEC)
  • CAnMove - Centre for Animal Movement Research
  • eSSENCE: The e-Science Collaboration
  • Speciation, Adaptation and Coevolution

Publishing year










Document type

Journal article


Ecological Society of America


  • Ecology
  • Physical Geography


  • areas of high conservation value
  • joint species distribution modeling
  • forest birds
  • forest generalists
  • forest specialists
  • green infrastructure



Research group

  • Biodiversity and Conservation Science
  • CAnMove - Centre for Animal Movement Research
  • Speciation, Adaptation and Coevolution


  • ISSN: 2150-8925