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Partial cutting reduces species richness of fungi on woody debris in oak-rich forests

Gotmark, F., Ryberg, M., Paltto, H., Allmer, J., Norden, B.
Canadian journal of forest research = 2008 v.38 no.7 pp. 1807-1816
fungi, species diversity, temperate forests, silvicultural practices, silvicultural systems, fruiting bodies, forest litter, coarse woody debris, Basidiomycota, Ascomycota, threatened species, colonizing ability, decay fungi, mycorrhizal fungi, Sweden
Partial cutting is increasingly applied in European temperate oak-dominated forests for biofuel harvesting, and to counteract succession in protected stands. Effects on biodiversity of these measures need to be carefully evaluated, and species-rich but neglected taxa such as fungi should be considered. We studied the effects of partial cutting on fungal fruiting bodies on woody debris. In 21 closed canopy forests rich in large oaks in Sweden, on average 25%-30% of the basal area was cut. Fruiting bodies were counted and some were collected in treated and control plots before and after treatment. We found 334 basidiomycete and 47 ascomycete species. Species richness of basidiomycetes declined significantly more in treated plots (on average 26%) than in control plots (on average 13%) between seasons. Species richness of ascomycetes increased by 17% in control plots and decreased by 2% in treated plots. Total species richness was significantly reduced on fine woody debris (1-10cm in diameter), but not on coarse woody debris (>10cm). Overall species composition did not change significantly as a result of partial cutting, but red-listed species tended to decrease more in treated plots. We suggest that approximately 30% of the stands should not be thinned, and dead stems and fallen branches should not be removed, to favor saproxylic fungi and their associated fauna.