Natural forest dynamics and regeneration patterns are moulded by natural disturbance regimes. These determine fundamental characteristics like forest structure, tree species composition and patterns of forest succession over time. Over the last decades, foresters have begun to take account of such regimes, and to some extent emulate their outcomes, as exemplified by various retention practises in the boreal and low impact logging in the tropics. However, even so nature is underused as model. This briefing paper focuses on how basic concepts of forest dynamics can inform conservation planning and help maintain High Conservation Values (HCVs).

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