Aspen Bibliography


Epiphytic lichen diversity in late-successional Pinus sylvestris forests along local and regional forest utilization gradients in eastern boreal Fennoscandia

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Forest Ecology and Management





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Pinus sylvestris-dominated forests have been heavily utilized across all of boreal Fennoscandia and the remaining natural forests are generally highly fragmented. However, there are considerable local and regional differences in the intensity and duration of past forest utilization. We studied the impact of human forest use on the diversity of epiphytic and epixylic lichens in late-successional Pinus sylvestris-dominated forests by assessing species richness and composition along both local and regional gradients in forest utilization. The effects of local logging intensity were analysed by comparing three types of stands: (i) near-natural, (ii) selectively logged (in the early 20th century) and (iii) managed stands. The effects of regional differences in duration and intensity of past forest use were analysed by comparing stands in two contrasting regions (Häme and Kuhmo–Viena). The species richness of selectively logged stands was as high as that of near-natural stands and significantly higher in these two stand categories than in managed stands. Species richness increased with the density of small understorey Picea, which correlated strongly with decreasing intensity of local forest use and increasing structural complexity of selectively logged and near-natural stands. Stands in the Häme region hosted a lower number of species, and were less likely to host many old-growth indicator species than the Kuhmo–Viena region, suggesting that species have been lost from stands in the Häme region due to a longer history of intensive forest use. We conclude that selectively logged stands, along with near-natural stands, are valuable lichen habitats particularly for species confined to old-growth structures such as coarse trees and deadwood. In landscapes where natural forests have become fragmented, the management or restoration of the remaining late-successional Pinus-dominated forests, e.g. through the use of fire, should be carefully planned to avoid adverse effects on lichen species richness.