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Spontaneous restoration of epiphytic lichen biota in managed forests planted on habitats typical for temperate deciduous forest

Kubiak, Dariusz, Osyczka, Piotr, Rola, Kaja
Biodiversity and conservation 2016 v.25 no.10 pp. 1937-1954
Quercus, age structure, clearcutting, coniferous forests, cutting, deciduous forests, epiphytes, forest reserves, forest stands, lichens, microhabitats, planting, species diversity, stand structure, Poland
The study examines the changes of epiphytic lichen diversity in differently aged stands developing after clear cutting and pine planting on fertile habitats typical for deciduous forests. The study was conducted within one large complex consisting of pine, mixed pine-hornbeam and typical old oak-linden-hornbeam forests in northern Poland. Epiphytic lichens were recorded in 50 study plots randomly selected within 5 forest stand classes of a different structure and age, ranging from 80 to over 220 years. Altogether 143 lichen species were recorded, of which only 41 were entirely nonspecific, and were occurring in all the studied forest stand classes. Significant differences in lichen species richness between stand classes were found and the number of species increases with the forest age. Lichen species composition also differs and its changes progress towards restoration of lichen biota typical for deciduous forest consistent with the habitat. The age of the forest has the most significant effect on the biodiversity of lichen biota. Microhabitat space provided by oaks is highly desirable since it greatly enriches lichen biota in forests. Phorophyte specificity of particular lichens were assessed. Hornbeam and oak have the greatest number of species mostly confined to them and constitute a main refuge for lichens with a high conservation value. The changes of lichen biota are basically parallel with the changes of the forest stand structure. The selection of some parts within managed pine forests that should not be assigned for cutting in the future can be a simple procedure which helps to restore and preserve forest biodiversity.