Disturbances can affect forest health and are important modulating factors of tree responses to environmental changes. However, standard methods are needed to assess and elucidate the relative effects of disturbance legacies on forest health among species. Here, structural sustainability was used to evaluate and to compare the impacts of contrasting disturbances on the health of Quercus ilex, Cedrus atlantica, and Abies pinsapo forest stands in Morocco and Spain. Disturbance effects on structural sustainability were related to type, severity, and land-use history, and showed inter-regional variability. Cedrus atlantica was structurally sustainable in its core distribution in Morocco, but not at its southern and northernmost geographical range limits. Quercus ilex was structurally sustainable in Morocco. Abies pinsapo was structurally sustainable at optimal elevation sites in Morocco (Rif Mts.), but considering the whole A. pinsapo dataset including Morocco and Spain, the species is structurally unsustainable due to excessive mortality. However, at the lower elevation plots in Spain, unsustainability was due to insufficient mortality. Although some forests were structurally sustainable, none of them were deemed healthy because none met their management objectives. Results also support the key role of disturbance regimes as drivers of forest structural sustainability and adaptive capacity.
Castello, J. D., Cale, J. A., D’Angelo, C. M., & Linares, J. C. (2016). Baseline mortality analysis reveals legacy of contrasting land use practices on the structural sustainability of endangered moroccan and spanish mountain forests. Forests, 7(8), 1–12. https://doi.org/10.3390/f7080172