Current issue: 53(4)
Dead wood profile of a forest is a useful tool for describing forest characteristics and assessing forest disturbance history. Nevertheless, there are few studies on dead wood profiles, including both coarse and fine dead wood, and on the effect of sampling intensity on the dead wood estimates. In a semi-natural boreal forest, we measured every dead wood item over 2 cm in diameter from 80 study plots. From eight plots, we further recorded dead wood items below 2 cm in diameter. Based on these data we constructed the full dead wood profile, i.e. the overall number of dead wood items and their distribution among different tree species, volumes of different size and decay stage categories. We discovered that while the number of small dead wood items was immense, their number dropped drastically from the diameter below 1 cm to diameters 2–3 cm. Different tree species had notably different abundance-diameter distribution patterns: spruce dead wood comprised most strikingly the smallest diameter fractions, whereas aspen dead wood comprised a larger share of large-diameter items. Most of the dead wood volume constituted of large pieces (>10 cm in diameter), and 62% of volume was birch. The variation in the dead wood estimates was small for the numerically dominant tree species and smallest diameter categories, but high for the sub-dominant tree species and larger size categories. In conclusion, the more the focus is on rare tree species and large dead wood items, the more comprehensive should the sampling be.
Herb-rich forests are often considered biodiversity hotspots in the boreal zone but their fungal assemblages, particularly those of wood-decaying fungi, remain poorly known. We studied herb-rich forests as habitats for polypores, a distinct group of wood-decaying fungi, and assessed the importance of tree- and stand-scale variables for polypore species richness, abundance, and diversity, including red-listed species. The data include 71 herb-rich forest stands in Finland and 4797 dead wood items, on which we made 2832 observations of 101 polypore species. Dead-wood diversity was the most important variable explaining polypore species richness and diversity, whereas increasing latitude had a negative effect. Red-listed species showed a positive response to the abundance of large-diameter dead wood, which, especially birch, supported also high general abundance of polypores. The composition of polypore assemblages reflected their host-tree species. The red-listed species did not show explicit patterns in the ordination space. Compared to old-growth spruce forests, herb-rich forests seem to host lower polypore species richness and less red-listed species. However, because of high proportion of deciduous trees in the dead wood profile, herb-rich forests have a clear complementary effect on polypore assemblages in boreal forest landscapes.
The density of Picea abies [L.] Karst. regeneration on different microsites, the quantity and quality of woody microsites, and seedling occurrence probability on stumps and fallen deadwood were studied in a subalpine forest that has been under protection for approximately 30–40 years (Gorce Mountains in the western Carpathians). Thirty percent of seedlings and 29% of saplings grew on stumps and fallen deadwood, while the remaining regeneration occurred on soil surface and mounds created by uprooted trees. The occurrence probability of Picea seedlings on fallen deadwood increased with deadwood diameter and decay stage and with the volume of living trees, and decreased with increased density of living trees, sapling density, and land slope. Furthermore, seedlings were more likely to grow on stumps with a greater diameter and in plots with higher sapling density, but less likely to grow on higher stumps. Stumps and fallen deadwood covered about 4% of the forest floor, but the material that is most important for promoting regeneration (strongly decomposed logs and those of a diameter exceeding 30 cm) took up only about 22 m2 ha-1. We have concluded that in a subalpine forest that has been protected for 30–40 years regeneration processes take place mostly on soil surface and stumps. The role of fallen deadwood increases over time as a greater number of suitable logs (in terms of size and decay stage) become available.