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Spatial distribution of dead wood and the occurrence of five saproxylic fungi in old-growth timberline spruce forests in northern Finland

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Adequate understanding of the factors that determine the establishment and survival of dead-wood-dependent species in natural forests is a prerequisite to the successful maintenance of these species in managed forests. This study investigated the factors affecting the occurrence of five wood-inhabiting polypores in old-growth timberline spruce forests in northern Finland, including the substrate availability and the spatial arrangement of large-diameter logs. The volume of coarse woody debris (CWD) varied significantly between the sites (range 15-30 m3 ha-1), large-diameter logs comprising on average 35% of the total CWD volume. However, the within-site variation in CWD volume was 10-15 times larger than the between-site variation. The spatial distribution of large-diameter logs was aggregated or initially aggregated on four sites and random on one site, creating local patches of high CWD volume. An individual target species occurred on average on 8% of all large-diameter logs, and on 11% of optimal logs (as determined by the decay stage). The characteristics of the logs and stand variables explained partly the occurrence of the target species; furthermore, the mortality pattern of trees (stem breakage versus uprooting) and the presence of primary decomposers also significantly affected the occurrence of the target species. The results indicate that besides substrate availability and quality, local habitat factors and species interactions also play a role in the occurrence of wood-inhabiting fungi in boreal timberline forests.

Keywords: Biodiversity management; boreal forests; coarse woody debris; polyporous fungi; spatial pattern

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Arctic Centre, University of Lapland, Rovaniemi, Finland 2: Department of Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden 3: Department of Forest Ecology, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland 4: Faculty of Forest Sciences, University of Joensuu, Joensuu, Finland 5: Metsahallitus, Rovaniemi, Finland 6: Finnish Forest Research Institute, Rovaniemi Research Unit, Rovaniemi, Finland 7: Finnish Forest Research Institute, Kolari Research Unit, Kolari, Finland

Publication date: 2009-12-01

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