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Larch Seed Trees Sustain Arboreal Lichens and Encourage Recolonization of Regenerating Stands

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In many areas Bryoria lichen is a major winter food for deer and caribou. We examined the role of western larch (Larix occidentalis) seed trees in retaining arboreal lichens and encouraging recolonization of regenerating stands by Bryoria. Although exposed to desiccation, Bryoria was sustained in significant amounts in larch seed trees. Other than a reduction near roads, apparently by alkaline road dust, arboreal forage lichens were relatively uniformly distributed throughout the regenerating stands. There was little difference in abundance up to 135 m from the source tree. The sorediate form of the lichens did better on lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta), and larger, nonsorediate fragments were more abundant on western larch. We attribute the difference to bark pH. Scattered western larch seed trees were effective at retaining lichens and facilitating recolonization of the regenerating stand.

Keywords: biodiversity; ungulate winter forage

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-04-01

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  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Western Journal of Applied Forestry covers the western United States, including Alaska, and western Canada; WJAF will also consider manuscripts reporting research in northern Mexico that has potential application in the southwestern United States.
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