Species-rich forests of the future: effects of forest disturbance on bird and moth diversity, and strategies to increase forest biodiversity

The Harz national park and neighbouring managed forests have been affected for years by a large-scale die-back of spruce forests and plantations due to massive bark beetle outbreaks. We run a field study at 180 sample plots. We assess species richness and abundance of birds and moths in different disturbance and management regimes. We compare salvage-logged vs. unlogged sites (bark beetle and windthrow disturbance), sites with and without planted beech and mature Spruce forest as a control, partly along a time gradient. We aim to model species turnover, and functional trait associations of winners and losers of forest disturbance. We will derive management recommendations likely to results in maximized biodiversity benefits. This field-based study is complemented by a Germany-wide analysis of forest bird responses to disturbance on ca. 1000 plots of the national Common Breeding Bird Census scheme coordinated by the Dachverband Deutscher Avifaunisten (DDA). The research is funded by Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU) through a scholarship to Anne Graser.