Effects on Ecosystems, Landscape and Rural Development

image of AFFORNORD

The Nordic project AFFORNORD studied the effects of afforestation on ecosystems, landscape and rural development in the years 2004–2006. Forests play a major role in the environment and economy of the Nordic countries. In historical times, extensive areas in the southern and western part of the Nordic region were deforestated, followed by afforestation in the past two centuries. There is no doubt that afforestation affects biodiversity, landscape dynamics, rural development and human health in several ways, positive as well as negative. Therefore, the purpose of afforestation must be clear in the planning phase. Proper forest management is also of critical importance. No land-use meets all environmental goals simultaneously. Some negative impacts are inevitable, even if the most conscientious management is employed. Generally, a trade-off must be made between the desire for a pristine environment and the need for a working and operational landscape for the benefit of society at large.



Effects of afforestation on biodiversity

Recently, there has been increased emphasis on conserving biodiversity, threatened habitats and ecosystems in the Nordic countries. The Nordic countries have signed the Convention on Biological Diversity, thus embracing the target of halting the decline in biodiversity by the year 2010. Therefore it is important to identify the effects that afforestation has on biodiversity and the functioning of ecosystems.


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