Polypore communities in broadleaved boreal forests
The cover and extent of boreal broadleaved forests have been decreasing due to modern forest management practices and fire suppression. As decomposers of woody material, polypores are ecologically important ecosystem engineers. The ecology and conservation biology of polypores have been studied intensively in boreal coniferous forests. However, only a few studies have focused on the species living on broadleaved trees. To increase knowledge on this species group we conducted polypore surveys in 27 broadleaved forests and 303 forest compartments (539 ha) on the southern boreal zone in Finland and measured dead wood and forest characteristics. We detected altogether 98 polypore species, of which 13 are red-listed in Finland. 60% of the recorded species are primarily associated with broadleaved trees. The number of species in a local community present in a broadleaved forest covered approximately 50 species, of which 30–40 were primarily associated with broadleaved trees. The size of the inventoried area explained 67% of the variation in the species richness, but unlike in previous studies conducted in coniferous forests, dead wood variables as well as forest structure had very limited power in explaining polypore species richness on forest stand level. The compartments occupied by red listed Protomerulius caryae had an especially high volume of living birch, but otherwise the occurrences of red-listed species could not be predicted based on the forest structure.
Received 6 March 2012 Accepted 2 July 2012 Published 31 December 2012