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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Convergence of fungal traits over time in natural and forestry-fragmented patches

Dawson, Samantha K.; Berglund, Hakan; Ovaskainen, Otso; Snall, Tord; Jonsson, Bengt G.; Jonsson, Mari


Setting aside small remnant patches of high biodiversity forest within managed forest landscapes is often used as conservation measure to provide a refuge and future source population of forest biodiversity, including wood-inhabiting fungal communities. Yet little is known about the long-term fungal community assembly, how these small, isolated patches change through time and how forest management in the surrounding landscape impacts traits and community functionality housed within.We applied a joint species distribution model to compare how fungal traits and communities changed over two survey periods undertaken similar to 20 years apart in boreal forest set-aside and natural patches. Natural patches in naturally fragmented landscapes were considered reference forests for small, remnant, near-natural forest patches in intensively managed forest landscapes.We found the majority of fungal traits converged over time between set-aside and natural patches, without changes in overall species richness. Red-listed species occurrence was initially lower in set-aside patches, but reached a comparable level of natural patches over time as a result of opposing changes in both patch types.Functional trait changes were larger in set-aside patches, but convergence was also related to opposing changes in natural patches.This is the first study to directly measure and test wood fungal community trait-environment relationships over time in small, high-conservation value forest patches. The long-term functional trait and red-listed species values of set-asides, coupled with their capacity for old-growth recovery, make them valuable focal areas for conservation.


Deadwood fungi; Saprotrophic; Patch dynamics; Fruit-body; Spore

Published in

Biological Conservation
2020, volume: 251, article number: 108789

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Swedish Species Information Centre
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology
Ovaskainen, Otso
Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Swedish Species Information Centre
Mid Sweden University
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Swedish Species Information Centre

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG15 Life on land

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