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Many terms often used to describe old-growth forests imply that these forests are less vigorous, less productive and less stable than younger forests. But research in the last two decades has yielded results that challenge the view of old-growth forests being in decline. Given the importance of forests in battling climate change and the fact that old-growth forests are shrinking at a rate of 0.5 percent per year, these new results have come not a moment too soon.
This book is the first ever to focus on the ecosystem functioning of old-growth forests. It is an exhaustive compendium of information that contains original work conducted by the authors. In addition, it is truly global in scope as it studies boreal forests in Canada, temperate old-growth forests in Europe and the Americas, and global tropical forests.
Written in part to affect future policy, this eminently readable book is as useful for the scientist and student as it is for the politician and politically-interested layman.
Part I Introduction 1 Old-growth forests: function, fate and value -- An OverviewChristian Wirth, Gerd Gleixner, Martin Heimann 2 Old-growth forest definitions: a pragmatic viewChristian Wirth, Christian Messier, Yves Bergeron, Dorothea Frank, Anja Fankhanel 3 Old trees and the meaning of 'old'Fritz Hans Schweingruber, Christian Wirth Part II Aboveground processes 4 Ecophysiological characteristics of mature trees and stands -- consequences for old-growth forest productivityWerner L. Kutsch, Christian Wirth, Jens Kattge, Stefanie Nollert, Matthias Herbst, Ludger Kappen 5 The imprint of succession on old-growth forest carbon balances -- insights from a trait-based model of forest dynamicsChristian Wirth and Jeremy Lichstein 6 Functional relationships between old-growth forest canopies, understorey light and vegetation dynamicsChristian Messier, Juan Posada, Isabelle Aubin and Marilou Beaudet 7 Biosphere-atmosphere exchange of old-growth forests: processes and patternAlexander Knohl, Detlef Schulze, Christian Wirth 8 Woody detritus mass and its contribution to carbon dynamics of old-growth forests: The temporal contextMark E. Harmon Part III Belowground processes 9 Aboveground and belowground consequences of long-term forest retrogression in the timeframe of millennia and beyondDavid A. Wardle 10 Rooting patterns of old-growth forests. Is aboveground structural and functional diversity mirrored belowground?Jurgen Bauhus 11 Soil Carbon Accumulation in Old-Growth ForestsGerd Gleixner, Cindy Tefs, Albrecht Jordan, Mathias Hammer, Andreas Telz, Uwe E. Schmidt and Stephan Glatzel, Christian Wirth 12 Is there a theoretical limit for soil carbon storage in old-growth forests? A model analysis with contrasting approachesMarkus Reichstein, Goran A...gren, Sebastien Fontaine Part IV Biomes 13 Old-growth forests in the Canadian boreal: The exception rather than rule?Yves Bergeron, Karen A. Harper 14 Biomass chronosequences of U.S. forests: implications for carbon storage and forest managementJeremy W. Lichstein, Christian Wirth, Henry S. Horn, Stephen W. Pacala 15 Temperate and boreal old growth forests: how does their growth dynamics and biodiversity differ from young stands and managed forests?Ernst-Detlef Schulze, Dominik Hessenmoller, Alexander Knohl, Sebastiaan Luyssaert, Annett Boerner, John Grace 16 Old-growth temperate rainforests of South America: Conservation, plant-animal interactions, and baseline biogeochemical processesJ. J. Armesto, C. Smith-Ramirez, M. Carmona, J. L. Celis-Diez , I. Diaz, A. Gaxiola, A. G. Gutierrez, M. Nunez-Avila , C. Perez, and R. Rozzi 17 Tropical rain forests as old-growth forestsJohn Grace, Patrick MeirPart V Human dimensions 18 Detecting intact forests from space: Hot spots of loss, deforestation and the UNFCCCFrederic Achard , Hugh Eva, Danilo Mollicone , Peter Popatov , Hans-Jurgen Stibig , Svetlana Turubanova, Alexey Yaroshenko 19 Impacts of land use on habitat functions of old-growth forests and their biodiversityDorothea Frank, Manfred Finckh, Christian Wirth 20 Old-growth forests in the context of international environmental agreementsAnnette Freibauer Part VI Synthesis 21 Old-growth forests: function, fate and value -- A synthesisChristian Wirth
Aus den Rezensionen: "... Die einfuhrenden Arbeiten geben einen Uberblick und versuchen die Frage zu klaren, was alte Waldbestande denn eigentlich sind; zur Klarung werden strukturelle, sukzessionale und biogeochemische Definitionen diskutiert. ... Insgesamt eine sehr anspruchsvolle Lekture zur Waldokologie, die v.a. fur Wissenschaftler von Bedeutung ist, die sich mit Waldokosystemen, Klimawandel und Umweltproblematik beschaftigen." (R. Gerstmeier in: Entomofauna, 16/October/2009, Vol.30, Issue 29, S. 502-f.)