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Natural disturbance impacts on trade-offs and co-benefits of forest biodiversity and carbon

Cite this dataset

Mikoláš, Martin et al. (2021). Natural disturbance impacts on trade-offs and co-benefits of forest biodiversity and carbon [Dataset]. Dryad.


With accelerating environmental change, understanding the influence of forest disturbances and trade-offs between biodiversity and carbon dynamics is of high socio-economic importance. Most studies, however, have assessed immediate or short-term effects of disturbance, while long-term impacts remain poorly understood. Here, using a tree-ring-based approach, we modelled the effect of 250 years of disturbances on present-day biodiversity indicators and carbon dynamics in well-preserved European temperate primary forests. Our results indicated that disturbance legacies spanning centuries shaped contemporary forest co-benefits and trade-offs, with contrasting, local-scale effects. In the short-term, disturbances enhanced carbon sequestration, reaching maximum rates within a comparatively narrow post-disturbance window (up to 50 years). Concurrently, disturbance diminished aboveground carbon storage, which gradually returned to peak levels over centuries. Temporal patterns in biodiversity potential were bimodal; the first maximum coincided with the short-term post-disturbance carbon sequestration peak, and the second occurred during periods of maximum carbon storage in complex old growth. However, despite fluctuating local-scale trade-offs, forest biodiversity and carbon storage remained stable across the broader study region. These findings underscore the dynamic interdependencies of forest processes, and highlight the necessity of large-scale conservation programs to effectively promote both biodiversity and long-term carbon storage, particularly given the accelerating global biodiversity and climate crises.

Usage notes

The readme file contains an explanation of each of the variables in the dataset, its type, and measurement units. Information on how the measurements were done can be found in the associated manuscript.