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Forests regenerating after clear-cutting function as habitat for bryophyte and lichen species of conservation concern.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Botany.
2011 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 6, no 4, 1-9 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The majority of managed forests in Fennoscandia are younger than 70 years old but yet little is known about their potential to host rare and threatened species. In this study, we examined red-listed bryophytes and lichens in 19 young stands originating from clear-cutting (30–70 years old) in the boreal region, finding 19 red-listed species (six bryophytes and 13 lichens). We used adjoining old stands, which most likely never had been clear-cut, as reference. The old stands contained significantly more species, but when taking the amount of biological legacies (i.e., remaining deciduous trees and dead wood) from the previous forest generation into account, bryophyte species number did not differ between old and young stands, and lichen number was even higher in young stands. No dispersal effect could be detected from the old to the young stands. The amount of wetlands in the surroundings was important for bryophytes, as was the area of old forest for both lichens and bryophytes. A cardinal position of young stands to the north of old stands was beneficial to red-listed bryophytes as well as lichens. We conclude that young forest plantations may function as habitat for red-listed species, but that this depends on presence of structures from the previous forest generation, and also on qualities in the surrounding landscape. Nevertheless, at repeated clear-cuttings, a successive decrease in species populations in young production stands is likely, due to increased fragmentation and reduced substrate amounts. Retention of dead wood and deciduous trees might be efficient conservation measures. Although priority needs to be given to preservation of remnant old-growth forests, we argue that young forests rich in biological legacies and located in landscapes with high amounts of old forests may have a conservation value.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 6, no 4, 1-9 p.
National Category
Research subject
Conservation Biology; Ecological Botany
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-66014OAI: diva2:466951
Available from: 2012-01-10 Created: 2011-12-16 Last updated: 2012-01-10Bibliographically approved

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