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Aspen-inhabiting Aphyllophoroid fungi in a managed forest landscape in Estonia

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In northern Europe, the biologically rich European aspen (Populus tremula) tends to disappear both from intensively managed and strictly protected forests, thus representing a biodiversity conservation challenge. This study describes the distribution of Aphyllophoroid fungi inhabiting aspen in a hemiboreal mixed-forest landscape where clear-cutting was usually followed by natural regeneration. In a 4-km2 area in Estonia, 181 individual forest stands and cut areas were surveyed. Sixty-one percent of the 2831 live aspen trees found were concentrated in 11% of the area. Thirty-six polypore species were recorded on aspen, with old stands and naturally created deadwood hosting most species. Among the records of 14 pre-defined aspen-specific basidiomycetes, Phellinus tremulae comprised about 95%. Six species (Ceriporiopsis aneirina, Clavicorona pyxidata, Funalia trogii, Phellinus populicola, Rigidoporus corticola, Steccherinum pseudozilingianum) were infrequent to rare, but widely distributed, inhabiting various stand-age classes, and mostly occurring outside “key habitats”. All the seven species absent are of conservation concern and frequent in Estonian old-growth forests. Thus, rotational management with natural aspen regeneration only provided habitat for some aspen-specific species. For sustaining all species, such landscapes should probably be complemented with stands managed using modified thinning and partial harvesting techniques in aspen-containing mixed stands.
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Keywords: Deadwood; Populus tremula; even-aged management; hemiboreal; natural regeneration; polypore; threatened species

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Zoology, Institute of Ecology and Earth Sciences, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia

Publication date: 2011-06-01

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