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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2011

Environmental and historical effects on lichen diversity in managed and unmanaged wooded meadows

Jönsson Mari, Thor Göran, Johansson Per


Question: Which environmental and historical variables affect epiphytic lichen diversity in managed and unmanaged wooded meadows? Location: The island of Gotland located in the Baltic Sea east of the Swedish mainland. Methods: We examined total epiphytic lichen diversity (crustose, foliose and fruticose species) on 1148 trees in eight grazed, eight traditionally managed (mowing, hay gathering and pollarding) and seven unmanaged wooded meadows. In addition to management, data on site location, habitat structure, history and adjacent habitat were analysed. Results: Lichen species richness increased with wooded meadow area and was greater within managed sites than in unmanaged meadows. Historic crown cover (ca. 1930) also influenced present-day lichen richness. Geographic location, distance to sea, wooded meadow area and average tree circumference were important determinants of lichen species composition. Tree circumference was the strongest overall predictor of the number of species on individual trees. However, tree circumference interacted with management regime, whereby cessation of management appeared to reduce species richness most on large trees. Traditionally managed sites, on average, supported the greatest richness of red-listed species. Conclusions: Management regime, wooded meadow area and canopy cover were the main drivers of lichen species richness, while geographic location, wooded meadow area, distance to sea and average tree circumference were important determinants of species composition


Crown cover; Deciduous forests; Epiphytic lichens; Fraxinus excelsior; Gotland; Quercus robur; Species composition; Species richness; Sweden

Published in

Applied Vegetation Science
2011, Volume: 14, number: 1, pages: 120-131

    SLU Authors

    • Sustainable Development Goals

      SDG15 Life on land

      UKÄ Subject classification

      Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

      Publication Identifiers


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