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Research article2019Peer reviewedOpen access

The evolutionary species pool concept does not explain occurrence patterns of dead-wood-dependent organisms: implications for logging residue extraction

Ranius, Thomas; Hamalainen, Aino; Sjogren, Joergen; Hiron, Matthew; Jonason, Dennis; Kubart, Ariana; Schroeder, Martin; Dahlberg, Anders; Thor, Goran; Jonsell, Mats


Emulation of natural disturbances is often regarded as a key measure to make forestry biodiversity-oriented. Consequently, extraction of logging residues is assumed to have little negative effect in comparison to extraction of dead wood mainly formed at natural disturbances. This is consistent with the evolutionary species pool hypothesis, which suggests that most species are evolutionary adapted to the naturally most abundant habitats. We tested this hypothesis for dead-wood-dependent macrofungi, lichens, and beetles in a boreal forest landscape in central Sweden, assuming that species are adapted to conditions similar to today's unmanaged forest. No occurrence patterns, for the species groups which we investigated, were consistent with the hypothesis. Overall, stumps and snags had the highest habitat quality (measured as average population density with equal weight given to each species) and fine woody debris the lowest, which was unexpected, since stumps were the rarest dead-wood type in unmanaged forest. We conclude that the evolutionary species pool concept did not explain patterns of species' occurrences, and for two reasons, the concept is not reliable as a general rule of thumb: (1) what constitute habitats harbouring different species communities can only be understood from habitat-specific studies and (2) the suitability of habitats is affected by their biophysical characteristics. Thus, emulation of natural disturbances may promote biodiversity, but empirical studies are needed for each habitat to understand how natural disturbances should be emulated. We also conclude that stump extraction for bioenergy is associated with larger risks for biodiversity than fine woody debris extraction.


Beetles; Fungi; Lichens; Slash; Woody debris

Published in

2019, Volume: 191, number: 1, pages: 241-252
Publisher: SPRINGER