New policies for old trees

Averting a global crisis in a keystone ecological structure

David B. Lindenmayer, William F. Laurance, Jerry F. Franklin, Gene E. Likens, Sam C. Banks, Wade Blanchard, Philip Gibbons, Karen Ikin, David Blair, Lachlan Mcburney, Adrian D. Manning, John A.R. Stein

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Abstract

Large old trees are critical organisms and ecological structures in forests, woodlands, savannas, and agricultural and urban environments. They play many essential ecological roles ranging from the storage of large amounts of carbon to the provision of key habitats for wildlife. Some of these roles cannot be replaced by other structures. Large old trees are disproportionately vulnerable to loss in many ecosystems worldwide as a result of accelerated rates of mortality, impaired recruitment, or both. Drivers of loss, such as the combined impacts of fire and browsing by domestic or native herbivores, chemical spray drift in agricultural environments, and postdisturbance salvage logging, are often unique to large old trees but also represent ecosystem-specific threats. Here, we argue that new policies and practices are urgently needed to conserve existing large old trees and restore ecologically effective and viable populations of such trees by managing trees and forests on much longer time scales than is currently practiced, and by protecting places where they are most likely to develop. Without these steps, large old trees will vanish from many ecosystems, and associated biota and ecosystem functions will be severely diminished or lost.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-69
Number of pages9
JournalConservation Letters
Volume7
Issue number1
Early online date13 Feb 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes

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ecosystems
ecosystem
salvage logging
spray drift
wildlife habitats
organisms
browsing
ecosystem function
policy
savanna
spray
savannas
biota
woodlands
herbivore
woodland
herbivores
timescale
mortality
carbon

Cite this

Lindenmayer, D. B., Laurance, W. F., Franklin, J. F., Likens, G. E., Banks, S. C., Blanchard, W., ... Stein, J. A. R. (2014). New policies for old trees: Averting a global crisis in a keystone ecological structure. Conservation Letters, 7(1), 61-69. https://doi.org/10.1111/conl.12013
Lindenmayer, David B. ; Laurance, William F. ; Franklin, Jerry F. ; Likens, Gene E. ; Banks, Sam C. ; Blanchard, Wade ; Gibbons, Philip ; Ikin, Karen ; Blair, David ; Mcburney, Lachlan ; Manning, Adrian D. ; Stein, John A.R. / New policies for old trees : Averting a global crisis in a keystone ecological structure. In: Conservation Letters. 2014 ; Vol. 7, No. 1. pp. 61-69.
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Lindenmayer, DB, Laurance, WF, Franklin, JF, Likens, GE, Banks, SC, Blanchard, W, Gibbons, P, Ikin, K, Blair, D, Mcburney, L, Manning, AD & Stein, JAR 2014, 'New policies for old trees: Averting a global crisis in a keystone ecological structure', Conservation Letters, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 61-69. https://doi.org/10.1111/conl.12013

New policies for old trees : Averting a global crisis in a keystone ecological structure. / Lindenmayer, David B.; Laurance, William F.; Franklin, Jerry F.; Likens, Gene E.; Banks, Sam C.; Blanchard, Wade; Gibbons, Philip; Ikin, Karen; Blair, David; Mcburney, Lachlan; Manning, Adrian D.; Stein, John A.R.

In: Conservation Letters, Vol. 7, No. 1, 02.2014, p. 61-69.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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