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Peer-Review Record

European Union’s Last Intact Forest Landscapes are at A Value Chain Crossroad between Multiple Use and Intensified Wood Production

Forests 2019, 10(7), 564; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10070564
Reviewer 1: Anonymous
Reviewer 2: Anonymous
Forests 2019, 10(7), 564; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10070564
Received: 1 June 2019 / Revised: 28 June 2019 / Accepted: 2 July 2019 / Published: 7 July 2019

Round 1

Reviewer 1 Report

The paper contains new information but it is based on statistical data only (no field research, validations etc. are included). The methods are not explained in details (data processing, interpretation systems etc.).

Details:

Intact forest: please define it for the whole paper (eg. could it be exploited in the past?),

42-43: „biodiversity conservation and wilderness as a base for rural development“, please explain (the species richness does not mean higher value or good potential for development directly, e.g. high diversity of weeds, invasive plants etc.),

45-46: too much keywords,

51: historical „intensive forest management“ can be (!) a good practice in some cases of forest management (oaks and ground flora conservation in oak coppice forest of central Europe, cf. Fehér 2018: Vegetation history and cultural landscapes, Springer),

137-139: Fig. 1 – is it own result or not? Source?

122-161: How the source data have been processed? 

162: the results are based on simply visualised statistics with rather low share of creative results,

173: please check the spelling: set asideareas,

176: Tab.1: voluntary set aside: define it!

273: non-productive forest land: define it!

323: Anok case: it is mentioned in the methods but not explained methodically,

485-486: „threatened ownership rights“ – I propose to emphasize it!

References: quite good.


Author Response

Changes made by authors

 

-          We appreciate this opportunity to clarify the results of our work; the revision has been done as a collective effort involving all co-authors. For specific changes relating to the comments provided by the reviewers, see below

-          We made a careful revision of the language throughout the MS. In some cases, the revision is very comprehensive, and for these sections we provide the new text (in red) without track changes.

-          We have scrutinized all figures and made slight modifications. However, Fig 1 and 6 are new versions with Fig 1 describing the study area and Fig 6 addressing harvest rates in different regions of Sweden.

-          An extensive revision of the Discussion based on the general comment provided by Ref#2 has been made. This includes a reorganization of the discussion, which is slightly shortened and we feel with a more condensed and better structured outline, and a final section about ways out of the deadlock been different views on how to handle the EU’s last intact forest landscapes.

 

Review #1

Authors’ replies in red

The paper contains new information but it is based on statistical data only (no field research, validations etc. are included). The methods are not explained in details (data processing, interpretation systems etc.).

That the study includes already available and public data is correct. However, the data have been  compiled and presented to highlight the topics of interest for the current study. Data processing is evident from the ways in which the tables and figures have been created and the results presented (e.g., Figure 6 and the associated text). Interpretation of the results is found in the discussion.

Details:

Intact forest: please define it for the whole paper (eg. could it be exploited in the past?),

This term is widely used internationally, see e.g., Potapov, P., Yaroshenko, A., Turubanova, S., Dubinin, M., Laestadius, L., Thies, C., Aksenov, D., Egorov, A., Yesipova, Y., Glushkov, I. and Karpachevskiy, M., 2008. Mapping the world’s intact forest landscapes by remote sensing. Ecology and Society, 13(2).

Nevertheless, we added “with limited human influence” to the first sentence and believe that with this addition “intact forest areas and landscapes” are defined. Clearly, humans have been present, but by comparison to limited degree. We further describe details on human land use later in the Introduction

42-43: „biodiversity conservation and wilderness as a base for rural development“, please explain (the species richness does not mean higher value or good potential for development directly, e.g. high diversity of weeds, invasive plants etc.),

We consider “biodiversity” as encompassing much more than just species richness and including natural processes and structures, i.e. forest ecosystems in their (near-)natural state. This is indeed a key asset for development of for example nature-based tourism.  However, we have changed “biodiversity” to “nature” to meet the reviewers concern

45-46: too much keywords,

We corrected the key words in order to meet the maximum number of allowed key words (10)

51: historical „intensive forest management“ can be (!) a good practice in some cases of forest management (oaks and ground flora conservation in oak coppice forest of central Europe, cf. Fehér 2018: Vegetation history and cultural landscapes, Springer),

Oak coppice is for sure not “intensive forest management” compared to industrial even-aged forestry methods. Although certain forest management can be compatible with aspects of biodiversity, the sentence highlights that certain species cannot cope with current intensive forest management. For these species natural forests and intact landscapes are crucial. Hence we wish to maintain the current wording.

137-139: Fig. 1 – is it own result or not? Source?

Figure 1 is a figure that presents the different study regions for which data are presented. These are based on different regions depicting the mountain forests, NW Sweden’s 15 municipalities and the informal Norrland region. We also added an inset showing Sweden in an EU and Pan-European context.

122-161: How the source data have been processed?

Source data has been compiled from a range of different sources (listed in methods) and synthesized to provide the necessary information for the study. No additional statistical analyses have been made because the data are not samples, but complete counts (e.g., Figure 6 with all of Sweden).

162: the results are based on simply visualised statistics with rather low share of creative results,

Correct. The novelty of this study is to compare policy developments with the consequences for forests and different forest benefits. All data in the paper are based on official statistics and remote sensing data, but compiled to illustrate the forest conditions in the study region. The result section has been revised to increase clarity, particular concerning our review of the policy processes.

173: please check the spelling: set aside areas,

Corrected

176: Tab.1: voluntary set aside: define it!

New text added in the table footnote

273: non-productive forest land: define it!

Definition of productive and non-productive forests is added to the “study area”.

323: Anok case: it is mentioned in the methods but not explained methodically,

The Änok case is based on a review of relevant documents that summarize the judicial process. We present the case to highlight the social-ecological complexity of mountain forest policies. Additional text in the methods section has been added relating to our review of the policy review and key aspects of the social system.

485-486: „threatened ownership rights“ – I propose to emphasize it!

We have added their right to manage forest to the sentence to further emphasize their perceived concerns.

References: quite good

 


 

Reviewer 2 Report

Very much promising paper but a better presentation and certain improvements are necessary.

See file attached.

Comments for author File: Comments.doc

Author Response

Changes made by authors

 

-        We appreciate this opportunity to clarify the results of our work; the revision has been done as a collective effort involving all co-authors. For specific changes relating to the comments provided by the reviewers, see below

-        We made a careful revision of the language throughout the MS. In some cases, the revision is very comprehensive, and for these sections we provide the new text (in red) without track changes.

-        We have scrutinized all figures and made slight modifications. However, Fig 1 and 6 are new versions with Fig 1 describing the study area and Fig 6 addressing harvest rates in different regions of Sweden.

-        An extensive revision of the Discussion based on the general comment provided by Ref#2 has been made. This includes a reorganization of the discussion, which is slightly shortened and we feel with a more condensed and better structured outline, and a final section about ways out of the deadlock been different views on how to handle the EU’s last intact forest landscapes.


line

How it is now

How it is recommended to be

Comments

Authors reply

28

economical

Economic


Changed

39-40

Regulation of ...to non-mountain forests.


This is the only promising point for providing some   policy analysis insights in the abstract. Try to develop it.

Abstract has been revised

40-44



The conclusions are in part trivial and in part   normative. Give highlighted insights so as to enable citing from the   abstract.

We believe that the three key   conclusions of the study relate to;

i) the unique value of the   mountain forests, ii) the alternatives to wood-based forestry as the usual   method in Sweden, and iii) the needs of local authorities to deliver   sustainable land use.

45-46



Too many keywords

We corrected the key   words in order to meet the maximum number of allowed key words (10)

49

near-natural


Clarify

The use of “near-natural” is used   to emphasize that not only truly pristine forests are relevant as such are   extremely rare. We have added “with limited human influence” to better   explain why we use “natural and near-natural” throughout the paper.

56

“cool forests”


Try to clarify the policy- or ecological relevance   of this term in the paper.

The term “cool forest” is used as   a reference to the special issue of the journal that this paper is a part.   They are “cool” both from a metaphorical sense and a climate perspective.

61

mountains


Specify how “mountainous” forest or community is   defined (e.g. Is there any altitude limit you adopt here? Who defines it? You   (and how)? The legislator? An academically defined criteria system? Or what   else?). It is quite important to clarify this.

This is in reference to the Scandinavian   mountain range. Changed in text, and show this in Figure 6.

80-81

indigenous Sami ... Sami and non-Sami farming


You say that “historic Sami land use” encompasses   “Sami and non-Sami farming”. Is it conceptually convenient? If possible, give   some more info about the cultural ecology of Sami. Is there any interaction   between their culture and the natural environment. What is the differenc e   between Sami and non-Sami farm systems regarding the impacts on forest? You   describe non-Sami activity but not the Sami activity. What is the origin of   non-Sami farming? If nothing of these is relevant to the objectives of the   paper, then delete the info of Sami or non-Sami.

We have removed “Sami” from the   sentence as it is not needed and also the use of Sapmi may be confusing.

 

The Sapmi land-use history is an   issue in itself and could be extensively expanded. However, we do not see   this as central to the current study and hence beyond highlighting that   humans have used the area, still prefer to keep this section short. Yet we   would like to keep this as a part of the overview of historical land use in   the study region.

81

This use was complex,...


Which use? Sami’s or non-Sami’s?

Both, which we believe now is   evident. See also comment above

119

economical

economic


Changed

140

2.2. Forest data

2.2. Forest data sources


Changed

141-152



Explain to what extent “forest” is here a) defined   on the basis of jurisdictional decisions or of natural-scientific criteria   and b) by politico-administrative  or   academic-research actors.

I think that this is always a central question about   the exact “forest area” and thus it should also be stated in the limitations   of the research and connected with future research questions.

In Sweden forest land are based on   the FAO forest definition but subsequently divided into productive and non-productive   land. This has been added to section 2.1. (Study area)

157

emergence


What did “emerge”?

Sentence reworded to provide   clarity

164-5

although the fraction is lower above the mountain   forests border (MFB) (54 %; Table 1).


Unclear. Additionally, one would expect to see here   a further clarification of the terms “protected area” and “voluntary set   aside area”.

Sentence made clearer. Text on   protected forests is given later in the result section

173

asidearea

aside area

Think also whether “voluntary” or “voluntarily” set   aside is grammatically more appropriate in the particular context. I feel   that “voluntarily” is correct like in line 267.

“aside area” corrected

Voluntary vs voluntarily. We use   “voluntary set-aside” as a parallel to formally protected, while the comment   is correct whenever it relates directly to the choice made by a land-owner.   We have checked this throughout the manuscript

213

unprotected productive forests


Is the specification “unprotected” appropriate here?   I suppose that productive forests are also protected in a certain way by the   law and managed according to legal and rational plans. Aren’ t they?

The context here is in relation to   formal and voluntary protection. We have added “remaining” to even further   highlight that it is in contrast to forest set-aside for conservation   reasons.

218-9

Comparable fractions on all forest land are 0.6%,   0.6% and 4.1%.


Unclear

Sentence   reworded to provide clarity

255



Clarify in the legend in what units the mean annual   forest loss

New figure and figure legend has   been added that address this concern

354-370



Some parts of the results should be transferred to   the discussion section.

I think this passage (354-370) is such an example   and should be incorporated in the discussion. In general, try to shorten   Results text and to transfer passages to Discussion.

We see the Results having three   parts with the aim to provide a basis for the discussion; i) a description of   the forest area under consideration ii) the policies that shape/d past and   current land-use and iii) a case that illustrate how these policies has   played out in practice. Although the Änok case may use a language that   resembles “discussion” we still consider this to be a key aspect of the   analysis we have done, thus belonging to the results. Also we strongly   believe that the whole description of Änok should be kept together and not   split between Results and Discussion

493

conservation qualities

conservation standards

Is this what you mean?

Rather “value”.   Changed in the text

498

and other stakeholders.


Too vague. Specify.

Added examples of stakeholders

512-4

Remnant ...human footprints.


Too trivial. Try to start the conclusions   highlighting an innovative finding of your research.

First two sentences removed

525

economical

economic


Changed

528

cultural consequences


Are you sure that such consequences have been   discussed?

No, and this is precisely one of   our points. The consequences of different land-use alternatives need to be   analysed, including cultural consequences.


Round 2

Reviewer 2 Report

everything ok

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