The concept of sustainability in forestry has a long tradition in Europe. However, the perception of 'sustainable management of forests' has changed in accordance with the changes in society, which has made growing demands on ecological, economical, and social functions on forests in recent years. Following the so-called 'Helsinki-process', the EU member states have decided on general guidelines for sustainable management and for the conservation of forest biodiversity. Six criteria and 27 descriptive and quantitative indicators have been defined for the assessment and monitoring of sustainable forest management. Criterion no. 4, relating to semi-natural ancient woodland as a potential vector and source of high biodiversity and respective forest policies, provides the central theme for this paper. The paper is focused on the diversity of vascular plants and explores the possibility that isolated recent woodland could contribute to plant species diversity. Measures are suggested for forest management at forest stand and landscape levels which could enhance the diversity of typical forest plants.

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