Highlights: Polypore communities were more homogeneous among created than among natural logs; The old-growth forest indicator Phellinus ferrugineofuscus occurred frequently on natural logs, but occupied only a few created logs; Results show that created logs do not fully mimic natural logs.
Many protected areas have been under intensive forest management prior to protection and thus lack natural ecosystem structures and dynamics. Dead wood is a key structure in forests harboring hundreds of threatened species. We investigated the ecological success of dead wood creation as a boreal forest restoration measure. We analysed whether the polypore communities of chain-saw felled and girdled (subsequently fallen) Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst.) logs differ from naturally formed spruce logs of similar decay stage and size. The study was conducted in Leivonmäki National Park in central Finland 8 years after the restoration measures. The average number of polypore species was highest on the chain-saw felled logs and most of the common polypore species were most frequent on this substrate. However, among the natural logs, number of species increased more steeply with increasing number of logs, suggesting greater variation in community composition on this substrate. The old-growth forest indicator Phellinus ferrugineofuscus occurred frequently on natural logs, occupied a few girdled logs but was absent from chain-saw felled logs. Our results show that from the polypore perspective created logs do not fully mimic natural logs, suggesting that creating substrates for species may pose a challenge for restoration.