New tool for monitoring potential biodiversity in mature forests in Catalonia

Mature forests are a valuable habitat for many species of fauna and flora and are in retreat in most of Europe. The Sélvans association has promoted the creation of a specific potential biodiversity index for mature forests (IBP-BM). This index evaluates the characteristics that favor other species and therefore increase forests’ potential biodiversity. This tool will be used to monitor the state of mature forests and evaluate the results achieved in their management.

Based on the potential biodiversity index (PPI) defined by the LIFE Biorgest project: the IBP Catalunya – Mediterranean Region, an index for mature forests (IBP-WB) has been designed that adds variables associated more directly with the degree of maturity of the forest, such as the heterogeneity of the horizontal structure and the predominance of larger trees. It establishes new thresholds to assess the variables, so that they more accurately indicate the trees’ degree of maturity.
With the technical assistance of Minuartia, the new IBP-BM has been developed and a pilot test has been carried out in forests of the Transversal Mountain range. Data collection in the field is done quickly and without requiring specialized knowledge.
The use of the BM-IBP in a much larger number of stands will allow it to be perfected in the coming years.