Whereas there is evidence that mixed-species approaches to production forestry in general can provide positive outcomes relative to monocultures, it is less clear to what extent multiple benefits can be derived from specific mixed-species alternatives. To provide such insights requires evaluations of an encompassing suite of ecosystem services, biodiversity, and forest management considerations provided by specific mixtures and monocultures within a region. Here, we conduct such an assessment in Sweden by contrasting even-aged Norway spruce (Picea abies)-dominated stands, with mixed-species stands of spruce and birch (Betula pendula or B. pubescens), or spruce and Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris). By synthesizing the available evidence, we identify positive outcomes from mixtures including increased biodiversity, water quality, esthetic and recreational values, as well as reduced stand vulnerability to pest and pathogen damage. However, some uncertainties and risks were projected to increase, highlighting the importance of conducting comprehensive interdisciplinary evaluations when assessing the pros and cons of mixtures.
Keywords: Climate change adaptation; Ecosystem services; Forestry; Mixed-forest stand; Polyculture; Resilience.