According to the forest law, the conservation of biological diversity is an integral part of the multifunctional forestry in Switzerland. To date, biodiversity conservation has mainly been addressed by sustainable and partly nature-close forest practices and the conservation of rare biotopes and single threatened species. Some studies show that this generally integrative approach cannot guarantee the persistence of the 32 000 known species, their genes and habitats in Switzerland. The deficits of highest concern are the low percentage of forest reserves, old-growth stands and deadwood, the dominance of uniform and dense stands and the high proportion of unstructured, linear forest edges. The total area of primary forests and nature forest reserves as well as special forest reserves that are managed in favour of a conservation target is below five percent. Besides, old-growth stands are missing more or less in forests dedicated for timber production. Here, we describe the major concepts and instruments (segregation, integration) for biodiversity conservation in forests. In a further step, we discuss the main challenges for this task by considering the accelerated demand for wood as renewable resource, the ongoing climate change and the increasing number of invasive species. We conclude that a strategy that links both, integrative and segregative instruments and measures and combines them with species conservation projects will be the best option to address ongoing problems of biodiversity conservation in forests. In addition, there is a need to scientifically identify the gaps in the network of forest reserves so as to complement the spectrum of protected forest habitats and their various organismic groups.

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