DOI: 10.1111/mam.12333 ISSN: 0305-1838

A systematic global review of mammalian carnivore responses to production forests

Evie M. Jones, Amelia J. Koch, Rodrigo K. Hamede, Menna E. Jones
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


Unmodified forests are increasingly rare worldwide, with forestry a major contributor to habitat modification. Extending conservation practices beyond protected areas is important to conserve forest ecosystems.

We investigate the response of native mammalian carnivores (both Order Carnivora and Family Dasyuridae) to production forests globally, including harvested native forest and timber plantations. We examine how carnivores recorded in production forests use these forests versus other land uses, particularly native and/or unharvested forest; how habitat use relates to threatened status, body size, diet and harvesting method; carnivore responses to habitat features within production forests; and carnivore denning, breeding and predation behaviour in production forests.

We review 294 studies recording 132 carnivore species in production forests. Carnivores generally show higher use of unharvested native forests and lower use of agricultural land than production forests. Threatened species and large carnivores respond more negatively to production forests than non‐threatened species and small carnivores respectively. Hypercarnivores respond more negatively than omnivores to plantations compared to native forest, with no difference in the use of harvested and unharvested native forest between these dietary groups.

Notably, a high proportion of carnivore species use clearfelled more than unharvested native forest. In forest with partial harvesting or reduced‐impact logging, most species show no difference in use between harvested and unharvested forest.

Carnivores generally respond positively to habitat features such as riparian areas and coarse woody debris. Several carnivores were recorded denning and breeding in production forests. Production forests often influence the prey availability, hunting success and diet of carnivores.

We show that many carnivores use production forests, and how they respond to production forestry varies with species traits and conservation status. We recommend that production forests are managed as valuable carnivore habitat, and highlight strategies to enhance the use of these forests by carnivores.

More from our Archive