Current issue: 55(2)
Herb-rich forests are often considered biodiversity hotspots in the boreal zone but their fungal assemblages, particularly those of wood-decaying fungi, remain poorly known. We studied herb-rich forests as habitats for polypores, a distinct group of wood-decaying fungi, and assessed the importance of tree- and stand-scale variables for polypore species richness, abundance, and diversity, including red-listed species. The data include 71 herb-rich forest stands in Finland and 4797 dead wood items, on which we made 2832 observations of 101 polypore species. Dead-wood diversity was the most important variable explaining polypore species richness and diversity, whereas increasing latitude had a negative effect. Red-listed species showed a positive response to the abundance of large-diameter dead wood, which, especially birch, supported also high general abundance of polypores. The composition of polypore assemblages reflected their host-tree species. The red-listed species did not show explicit patterns in the ordination space. Compared to old-growth spruce forests, herb-rich forests seem to host lower polypore species richness and less red-listed species. However, because of high proportion of deciduous trees in the dead wood profile, herb-rich forests have a clear complementary effect on polypore assemblages in boreal forest landscapes.