Reply to Mikoláš's comment on "Opinion Paper: Forest management and biodiversity" by Schulze et al. (2014)
We highly appreciate the response to our opinion paper by a group of conservation scientists as this follows our aim of starting a discussion. While the comment agrees with our main conclusion, namely that "forest protection per se does not yet ensure the maintenance of species", the main content of the comment does not appear to be very constructive because it does not present additional data or a general conceptual framework beyond the authors' claim that "we need more old growth forests". We
... growth forests". We wish to respond because our aim was to initiate a discussion and because we should correct some claims which are false. The main objective of the opinion paper was to show that management must be included in concepts of preserving biodiversity and we note that the authors of the comment agree that "differences in management practice contributed to the observed differences in diversity of central versus southeastern Europe". This aspect has not been included in conservation strategies of the past. We have shown that there are management practices which contribute to diversity more than others. In our opinion paper we included forests which were protected from wood extraction, and this included oldgrowth forests. Thus, we were never opposed to the possible conservation of old growth, but we pointed to the need to put this into a management context. We note that there seems to be agreement regarding the evaluation of landscape diversity. The authors of the comment claim that our opinion paper was written without a landscape perspective. This is not true. Our opinion paper is based on data derived from a grid-based inventory in Germany (about 2000 grid points across an entire landscape in Thuringia, Germany) and in Romania (national forest inventory of about 5000 grid points across all forest types in Romania). Clearly, we have to publish these large data sets in detail elsewhere (see Schulze et al., 2014 a, b). Our opinion paper is an objective description of landscapes at various grid scales ranging from 4 km × 4 km down to 100 m × 100 m. Surprisingly, the authors of the comment discard the landscape facts, and focus on a few selected observations of old growth remnants without any information about their plot numbers and observations nor about information regarding the actual and surrounding landscape. The comment states three main areas of critique, without presenting new of additional data or concepts. The claims are as follows: 1 The opinion paper is criticized as having limited scope As said before, we are not aware of any other study that is grid-based and includes the whole range of management options from coppice to old growth stands. We clearly included all types. Conservation is regarded as one form of "management".