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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Increasing the amount of dead wood by creation of high stumps has limited value for lichen diversity

Hamalainen, Aino; Ranius, Thomas; Strengbom, Joachim


Artificial creation of dead wood in managed forests can be used to mitigate the negative effects of forestry on biodiversity. For this to be successful, it is essential to understand the conservation value that the created dead wood has in comparison to naturally occurring dead wood, and, furthermore, where in the landscape addition of dead wood is most beneficial, i.e. how landscape composition influences species occurrence on dead wood. We examined these questions by surveying epixylic lichens on artificially created high stumps of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) in 3-17 years old clear-cuts. We compared lichen assemblages on high stumps to those on other types of pine dead wood in mature forests, and examined how stump age, the amount of dead wood at the clear-cuts, and landscape composition at 500 m - 2.5 km scale influenced the assemblages. In comparison to other dead wood types, high stumps hosted lower lichen richness and less variable assemblages containing mainly common generalist species. Species richness increased with stump age, whereas dead wood amount and landscape composition were not important; only the total amount of forests in the landscape had a minor positive effect. We conclude that at the studied timescale high stumps of Scots pine are not particularly valuable for epixylic lichens and provide a poor substitute for naturally occurring dead wood in mature forests, although their value may increase with age. Furthermore, directing dead wood creation to specific stands or landscapes does not appear beneficial for lichen biodiversity, given the minor effect of landscape composition found at scales below 2.5 km.


Colonization; Dead wood; Epixylic; Landscape composition; Pinus sylvestris

Published in

Journal of Environmental Management
2021, Volume: 280, article number: 111646