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Are woodland key habitats in Finland hotspots for polypores (Basidiomycota)?

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In Fennoscandia, the concept of woodland key habitats has become one of the key concepts when defining hotspots for forest biodiversity. There is a serious lack of studies, however, in which the diversity value of the assumed key habitats has been assessed for any groups of organisms. The aim of this study was to investigate whether the woodland key habitats as defined in the Finnish Forest Act can be advocated as diversity hotspots for polypores, a group of wood-decaying fungi including several red-listed species and species used as indicators for conservation value of forests. The study area was situated in the southern boreal zone, in eastern Finland. In total, 72 woodland key habitat sites representing six different habitat types, and 12 production forest sites as controls were investigated for their polypore assemblages. A total of 2077 records of 93 species was made, of which only 17 records of nine species were red-listed. On average, key habitats hosted more species than control forests, but of the six habitat types, only fresh and mesic–moist herb-rich forests differed significantly in species number from the control forests. Compared with control forests, key habitats can maintain rich polypore flora but, because of the low number of red-listed species found, they are likely to be of little help in the conservation of threatened polypores.

Keywords: Biodiversity; Fennoscandia; boreal forest; forest conservation; species richness; threatened species; wood-decaying fungi

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Faculty of Forest Sciences, University of Joensuu, Joensuu, Finland

Publication date: 2006-02-01

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