Lichen communities on Populus tremula are affected by the density of Picea abies
Nirhamo, A., Pykälä, J., Halme, P., & Komonen, A. (2021). Lichen communities on Populus tremula are affected by the density of Picea abies. Applied Vegetation Science, 24(2), Article e12584. https://doi.org/10.1111/avsc.12584
Published inApplied Vegetation Science
DisciplineEkologia ja evoluutiobiologiaEvoluutiotutkimus (huippuyksikkö)ResurssiviisausyhteisöEcology and Evolutionary BiologyCentre of Excellence in Evolutionary ResearchSchool of Resource Wisdom
© 2021 International Association for Vegetation Science
Questions Aspen (Populus tremula) is declining in the old‐growth forests of boreal Fennoscandia. This threatens the numerous taxa that are dependent on old aspens, including many epiphytic lichens. Potential methods to aid epiphytic lichens on aspen are centered around treatments which affect the density of Norway spruce (Picea abies). In this study, we investigated how epiphytic lichen communities on aspen are affected by the variation of spruce density in the immediate vicinity of the focal aspen. Location Southern boreal forests in Finland. Methods We recorded the occurrence of lichens from 120 aspens in 12 semi‐natural forest sites. We used spruce basal area as the measure for spruce density. The selected aspens represented a gradient in spruce basal area in the vicinity of the aspen from 0 to 36 m2/ha. We also measured other tree‐ and stand‐level variables that are known to influence lichen occurrence. Results Lichen communities on aspen were affected by spruce density, stand age and bark pH. Both lichen species richness and the richness of red‐listed species were highest at an intermediate spruce density, and both increased with stand age. Lichen species richness was higher when bark pH was lower. Additionally, community composition was influenced the most by spruce density, followed by bark pH. Conclusions Our study highlights the detrimental effects of high spruce density on lichen diversity on aspens. This is caused by high spruce density resulting in low light availability. Lichen diversity on aspens was highest when spruce density was intermediate. Spruce thinning in aspen‐rich old‐growth forests can be helpful in ensuring the long‐term persistence of old‐growth lichens on aspen in protected forests. ...
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Additional information about fundingResearch funding: Suomen biologian seura Vanamo, Ilmari Räsäsen säätiö
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