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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2006

Litterfall of epiphytic macrolichens in Nothofagus forests of northern Patagonia, Argentina: Relation to stand age and precipitation

Caldiz MS, Brunet J


The objective of this study was to analyse how stand age and precipitation influence abundance and diversity of epiphytic macrolichens in southern beech Nothofagus forests, estimated by lichen litter sampling. Five sites of Nothofagus dombeyi (Mirbel) Oersted were selected in Nahuel Huapi National Park, Argentina. At each site, lichen fragments from the forest floor were collected at 12.5 m(2) plots in pairs of young and mature N. dombeyi forest. Additionally, two sites with multi-aged subalpine Nothofagus pumilio (Poepp. et Endl.) Krasser forest were investigated in a similar manner. Average litterfall biomass per stand varied from less than 1 kg ha(-1) in a young low-precipitation stand to a maximum of 20 kg ha(-1) in a mature high-precipitation stand. In places with higher precipitation, litterfall biomass in N. dombeyi forest was considerably higher in old stands as compared with young ones. In places with less than 2000 mm of precipitation, differences in biomass were less pronounced. Old humid stands contained about twice as many taxa in the litter as old low-precipitation stands and young stands in general. Mature stands in low-precipitation sites only contained 17% of the litter biomass as compared with mature stands in high-precipitation sites. Epiphytic lichen composition changed from predominating fruticose lichens (Usnea spp. and Protousnea spp.) in low-precipitation stands to Pseudocyphellaria spp., Nephroma spp. and other foliose lichens, in the high-precipitation stands. There were no clear differences in the proportion of fruticose and foliose lichens between young and old stands. Fruticose lichens dominated litter biomass in both N. pumilio sites

Published in

Austral Ecology
2006, Volume: 31, number: 3, pages: 301-309

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    Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

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