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Forskningsartikel2021Vetenskapligt granskadÖppen tillgång

Bryophyte species composition at the stand scale (1 ha) – Differences between secondary stands half a century after clear-cutting and older semi-natural boreal forests

Dynesius, Mats; Olsson, Jörgen; Hjältén, Joakim; Löfroth, Therese; Roberge, Jean-Michel


A growing proportion of the boreal biome consists of managed even-aged secondary forest stands regenerated after clear-cutting. Many disturbance-intolerant species may not be able to recolonize or reach their original abundance in these stands before the next clear-cutting, potentially causing large-scale biodiversity losses. Boreal bryophytes (mosses and liverworts) include many species intolerant to clear-cutting, and at small spatial scales species richness and occupancy has been shown to remain changed in secondary stands half a century after logging. To assess if such persistent changes occur also at the stand scale, we listed and estimated cover of all bryophyte species in 1-ha plots, comparing 14 secondary stands originating from clear-cutting 40–60 years earlier with 14 older semi-natural stands. The large plots also made it possible to assess differences in occupancy and abundance for more bryophyte species than in previous studies. Species composition differed significantly for both mosses and liverworts, but unlike earlier studies, we could not detect any significant difference between stand types in species numbers. Thirteen species were significantly associated with semi-natural stands and the total cover of liverworts was less than half in secondary stands. Secondary stands had significantly fewer species typically occurring under shady conditions and/or mostly growing on “tree substrates” (dead wood and/or bases and stems of living trees). Ordination analysis further emphasized the importance of shade and suitable deadwood substrates; the among-plot variation in bryophyte species composition was related to amount of coarse deadwood as well as to gradients from shady spruce dominated to open pine dominated stands and from polar- to equator-facing slopes. Besides lack of suitable habitat conditions in secondary stands, dispersal limitation may have caused a colonization time lag for some species. The clear importance of stand scale habitat conditions for bryophyte species composition calls for management adaptions to facilitate life boating and/or recolonization by ensuring availability of shade, coarse decomposing logs, and specific deciduous tree species (Populus, Salix, Sorbus) in secondary stands.


Boreal forest; Secondary stands; Bryophyte species composition; Biodiversity; Forestry

Publicerad i

Forest Ecology and Management
2021, Volym: 428, artikelnummer: 118883