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Research article2008Peer reviewed

Assessing the extinction vulnerability of wood-inhabiting fungal species in fragmented northern Swedish boreal forests

Berglund, Håkan; Jonsson, Bengt Gunnar


Fragmentation of old-growth forests and greatly reduced amounts of coarse dead wood in managed forests threat the persistence of many saproxylic species in boreal Fennoscandia. Individual old-growth forest remnants may lose species over time as they pay off their extinction debt. We tested this by comparing the observed site occupancy of individual wood-inhabiting fungal species in isolated old-growth stands (i.e. woodland key habitats; WKHs) with statistical predictions of their occupancy assuming potential extinction debt had already been paid off. The occupancy of species was analysed in two sets of WKHs differing in time since isolation (i.e. recent and old isolates).Few species occurred more frequently than expected in WKHs. However, patterns across species and across all WKHs masked important differences among species in their risk of facing future extinction. The site occupancy decreased significantly between recent and old isolates for a group of annual, red-listed specialist fungal species, suggesting that an extinction debt in WKHs may exist among specific species confined to coarse dead wood and old-growth forest habitat. Generalist species that also occur in the surrounding matrix showed no negative trends, or actually increased in site occupancy, making future extinctions less likely. Thus, continuing loss of threatened species are likely if not preservation of WKHs are combined with other conservation efforts in managed forest landscapes. Natural forest landscapes may serve as important references when aiming to identify species in risk of future extinction but more detailed knowledge about the biology of the most vulnerable species is also required. (c) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Population viability; Management planning; Coarse woody debris; Spruce

Published in

Biological Conservation
2008, Volume: 141, number: 12, pages: 3029-3039

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Environmental Sciences

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