Human-induced fragmentation affects forest continuity, i.e. availability of a suitable habitat for the target species over a time period. The dependence of wood-inhabiting fungi on landscape level continuity has been well demonstrated, but the importance of local continuity has remained controversial. In this study, we explored the effects of local forest continuity (microhabitat and stand level) on the diversity of wood-inhabiting fungi on standing dead trunks of Scots pine (Paws sylvestris L.). We studied species richness and community composition of decomposers and Micarea lichens on 70 trunks in 14 forests in central Finland that differed in their state of continuity. We used dendrochronological methods to assess the detailed history of each study trunk, i.e. the microhabitat continuity. The stand continuity was estimated as dead wood diversity and past management intensity (number of stumps). We recorded 107 species (91 decomposers, 16 Micarea lichens), with a total of 510 occurrences. Using generalized linear mixed models, we found that none of the variables explained decomposer species richness, but that Micarea species richness was positively dependent on the time since tree death. Dead wood diversity was the most important variable determining the composition of decomposer communities. For Micarea lichens, the community composition was best explained by the combined effect of years from death, site and dead wood diversity. However, these effects were rather tentative. The results are in line with those of previous studies suggesting the restricted significance of local forest continuity for wood-inhabiting fungi. However, standing dead pines that have been available continuously over long periods seem to be important for species-rich communities of Micarea lichens. Rare specialists (e.g. on veteran trees) may be more sensitive to local continuity, and should be at the center of future research.
- 4112 Skogsvetenskap