The role of novel forest ecosystems in the conservation of wood‐inhabiting fungi in boreal broadleaved forests
- Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Inc.
Ecology and Evolution,
natural herb-rich forests | deadwood | natural herb‐rich forests | Original Research | wood pastures | corticioids | novel ecosystems | Afforested fields | fungal communities
The increasing human impact on the earth’s biosphere is inflicting changes at
all spatial scales. As well as deterioration and fragmentation of natural biological
systems, these changes also led to other, unprecedented effects and emergence
of novel habitats. In boreal zone, intensive forest management has
negatively impacted a multitude of deadwood-associated species. This is
especially alarming given the important role wood-inhabiting fungi have in the
natural decay processes. In the boreal zone, natural broad-leaved-dominated,
herb-rich forests are threatened habitats which have high wood-inhabiting fungal
species richness. Fungal diversity in other broadleaved forest habitat types is
poorly known. Traditional wood pastures and man-made afforested fields are
novel habitats that could potentially be important for wood-inhabiting fungi.
This study compares species richness and fungal community composition across
the aforementioned habitat types, based on data collected for wood-inhabiting
fungi occupying all deadwood diameter fractions. Corticioid and polyporoid
fungi were surveyed from 67 130 deadwood particles in four natural herb-rich
forests, four birch-dominated wood pastures, and four birch-dominated afforested
field sites in central Finland. As predicted, natural herb-rich forests were
the most species-rich habitat. However, afforested fields also had considerably
higher overall species richness than wood pastures. Many rare or rarely collected
species were detected in each forest type. Finally, fungal community composition
showed some divergence not only among the different habitat types,
but also among deadwood diameter fractions. Synthesis and applications: In
order to maintain biodiversity at both local and regional scales, conserving
threatened natural habitat types and managing traditional landscapes is essential.
Man-made secondary woody habitats could provide the necessary resources
and serve as surrogate habitats for many broadleaved deadwood-associated species,
and thus complement the existing conservation network of natural forests.