A re-inventory of the threatened lichen Usnea longissima in ten Norway spruce forest stands where experimental selective loggings had been conducted 5 to 8 years before revealed that the number of lichen thalli had increased with 34%; The number of thalli increased more where the forest was open whether or not the low tree density was caused by the loggings.
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Usnea longissima Ach. is a circumboreal epiphytic lichen draping tree canopies in moist coastal and mountainous forests. It is extinct from many European and North-American localities, presumably due to industrial forestry and air pollution, but still has a stronghold in parts of Scandinavia and U.S. and Canadian Pacific Northwest. In 2005/06 we used a comparative and retrospective approach to evaluate how present and historic tree and stand characteristics influenced the occurrence and abundance of the lichen (Storaunet et al. 2008). In 2012, we re-inventoried ten Norway spruce forest stands with 401 U. longissima-bearing trees and recorded changes in the number of U. longissima thalli. Seven of the stands had been experimentally, selectively logged 5–8 years before, where the lichen-bearing trees had been marked in the field and were avoided during the logging operation. Total number of lichen-bearing trees decreased slightly (2.9%), whereas the number of thalli had increased with 34%. Number of thalli increased more where the forest was open (low basal area, m2ha-1) whether or not the low tree density was caused by the logging events. At high tree densities the change in number of thalli was negligible. We suggest that selective logging, securing lichen-bearing trees, may be a viable management option to keep tree density from becoming too dense, thereby enhancing growth and establishment of U. longissima.