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Th. Gebureka, Corresponding Author Contact Information, E-mail The Corresponding Author, N. Milasowszkya, G. Frankb, H. Konrada and K. Schadauerb

a Department of Genetics, Federal Research and Training Centre for Forests, Natural Hazards and Landscape (BFW), Hauptstraße 7, A-1140 Vienna, Austria

b Department of Forest Inventory, Federal Research and Training Centre for Forests, Natural Hazards and Landscape (BFW), Seckendorff-Gudent Weg 8, A-1131 Vienna, Austria

Received 14 November 2008; 
revised 2 October 2009; 
accepted 4 October 2009. 
Available online 11 November 2009.



Forest biodiversity cannot be measured and monitored directly. Indicators are needed to tackle this task and must be based on scientifically valid relationships concerning different levels of biodiversity. In addition, indicators must provide tangible goals for forest policy and other relevant stakeholders. Here, we propose a single aggregated measure – the Austrian Forest Biodiversity Index (AFBI) – which is composed of different indicator values being weighed depending on their significance for the maintenance of forest species richness and genetic diversity. The AFBI consists of nine state and four response indicators. Selection of state indicators was based on the general hypothesis that forests which mimic natural conditions or are characterised by structural elements of old-growth forests maintain a high number of forest dependent species and a high genetic richness therein. Among the response indicators we considered the establishment of natural forest reserves, genetic reserve forests, seed stands and seed orchards as most relevant. Proposed operational tools, especially for state indicators, are mainly based on the Austrian forest inventory. The sum of all weighted indicator measures is rescaled as a total score that may vary from 0 to 100, so that the AFBI is simple to communicate and straightforward to apply. The AFBI gives certain weight to genetic parameters which are often neglected in previous approaches.

Keywords: Monitoring; State indicators; Response indicators; Conservation; Sustainable forestry

Article Outline

1. Introduction
2. Background
3. The Austrian Forest Biodiversity Index (AFBI)
4. Indicators
4.1. Naturalness of tree composition—characteristic tree species of the potential natural vegetation (PNV)
4.2. Naturalness of tree composition—game impact
4.3. Naturalness of tree composition—exotics
4.4. Forest structure—deadwood
4.5. Forest structure—living veteran trees
4.6. Regeneration—presence of sufficient regeneration
4.7. Regeneration—type
4.8. Regeneration—indigenous seed sources
4.9. Forest landscape pattern
4.10. Natural forest reserves
4.11. Genetic reserve forests
4.12. Seed stands
4.13. Seed orchards
5. Discussion

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Extpub | by Dr. Radut