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Importance of different tree fractions for epiphytic lichen diversity on Picea abies and Populus tremula in mature managed boreonemoral Swedish forests

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Knowledge of the canopy lichen flora of managed forests is poor, but needs more focus since, for example, slash (tops, branches and twigs) harvest for biofuel may pose a threat to epiphytic lichen diversity. This study compared lichen species richness, density and composition between stems, tops, branches and twigs of mature Norway spruce (Picea abies) and aspen (Populus tremula) in managed boreonemoral forests in south-central Sweden. The stems were also compared with the slash fractions pooled together. All comparisons were made separately for each tree species. In total, 30 lichen species were found on Norway spruce and 46 on aspen. No significant differences in species richness or species density between fractions were found for Norway spruce, whereas aspen tops were significantly less species rich and species dense than the other fractions. Moreover, aspen slash was significantly more species dense than the stem. The lichen species composition of the stems clearly differed from that of the tops, branches and twigs in both tree species. Thus, lichen communities other than those removed with stems by conventional forestry are removed from the stands owing to slash harvest. However, these species are rather common and widespread in Sweden. The impact of slash harvest on the epiphytic lichen flora may therefore be of minor importance in forests established after clear-cutting or on former arable land.
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Keywords: Aspen; NMS; Norway spruce; biofuel; logging residues; rarefaction; slash

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden

Publication date: 2007-01-01

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