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Growth and morphological response of old-forest lichens transplanted into a young and an old Picea abies forest

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This experimental study focuses on why old-forest lichens such as Lobaria scrobiculata and Platismatia norvegica are scarce in younger spruce stands. Understanding the factors limiting the distribution of species is important for developing appropriate methods for forest management aiming to maintain biodiversity. A successful growth of L. scrobiculata and P. norvegica was found in the young planted stand as the rate of growth did not differ between the young stand and the old spruce forest where they naturally occurred, during 14 months of transplantation. In the young forest environment, L. scrobiculata showed a significantly higher specific thallus weight, and a slightly higher water-holding capacity. This morphological response is probably due to a higher light exposure in the young stand and consequently a higher rate of desiccation. The ubiquitous species Platismatia glauca showed a significantly higher rate of growth in the young forest than in the old forest, and a positive relationship between growth rate and light exposure was found. This transplant study has shown that the environmental conditions in younger planted forests are not necessarily unfavourable for growth of old-forest lichens. Other factors, such as limited dispersal ability and poor diaspore production, are probably important for explaining the species scarcity in younger stands.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2002

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