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Profile of tree-related microhabitats in European primary beech-dominated forests

Kozák, Daniel, Mikoláš, Martin, Svitok, Marek, Bače, Radek, Paillet, Yoan, Larrieu, Laurent, Nagel, Thomas A., Begovič, Krešimir, Čada, Vojtěch, Diku, Abdulla, Frankovič, Michal, Janda, Pavel, Kameniar, Ondrej, Keren, Srđan, Kjučukov, Peter, Lábusová, Jana, Langbehn, Thomas, Málek, Jakub, Mikac, Stjepan, Morrissey, Robert C., Nováková, Markéta H., Schurrman, Jonathan S., Svobodová, Kristýna, Synek, Michal, Teodosiu, Marius, Toromani, Elvin, Trotsiuk, Volodymyr, Vítková, Lucie, Svoboda, Miroslav
Forest ecology and management 2018 v.429 pp. 363-374
Fagus sylvatica subsp. sylvatica, epiphytes, forest management, forest reserves, fungi, landscapes, microhabitats, models, mountains, primary forests, snags, species diversity, trees
Tree-related microhabitats (TreMs) are important features for the conservation of biodiversity in forest ecosystems. Although other structural indicators of forest biodiversity have been extensively studied in recent decades, TreMs have often been overlooked, either due to the absence of a consensual definition or a lack of knowledge. Despite the increased number of TreM studies in the last decade, the role of drivers of TreM profile in primary forests and across different geographical regions is still unknown. To evaluate the main drivers of TreM density and diversity, we conducted the first large-scale study of TreMs across European primary forests. We established 146 plots in eight primary forests dominated by European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) in the Carpathian and Dinaric mountain ranges. Generalized linear mixed effect models were used to test the effect of local plot characteristics and spatial variability on the density and diversity (alpha, beta, and gamma) of TreMs. Total TreM density and diversity were significantly positively related with tree species richness and the proportion of snags. Root mean square tree diameters were significantly related to alpha and gamma diversity of TreMs. Both regions reached similarly high values of total TreM densities and total TreM densities and diversity were not significantly different between the two regions; however, we observed between the two regions significant differences in the densities of two TreM groups, conks of fungi and epiphytes. The density and diversity of TreMs were very high in beech-dominated mountain primary forests, but their occurrence and diversity was highly variable within the landscapes over relatively short spatial gradients (plot and stand levels). Understanding these profile provides a benchmark for further comparisons, such as with young forest reserves, or for improving forest management practices that promote biodiversity.