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Effects of forestry on epiphytic lichens in boreonemoral swamp forests in southern Sweden

Johan Molin

In boreal and boreonemoral forest landscapes, swamp forests are great sources of biodiversity with high numbers of niches and rare species, many of which are now threatened by forestry. Logging practices disrupts the continuity of the forest landscape and patches of forests are left behind in a mosaic-like structure. The edge effects that arise may have great negative impacts on sensitive and high-demand species. I investigated the effects of forestry on five indicator lichen species in boreonemoral swamp forests in Östergötland county, southern Sweden. Both spatial and temporal variations in lichen distributions were analysed and compared with disturbances from forestry. The swamp forests in this study are negatively affected by forestry, indicated by general decreases in both lichen and host-tree abundances. More specifically, the sensitive indicator lichen Menegazzia terebrata was more likely to occur in the interior of swamp forests than at the exterior, more prominently so in sites exposed to abrupt edges. There were no signs of preventive measures being left deliberately when logging adjacent to swamp forests, indicating that systematic implementation of elements such as protective zones is still a work in progress at best. This study highlights the importance of preserving microclimatic properties of natural swamp forests but also concludes that more studies are needed to fully understand local variations and management needs.

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Last updated: 05/28/14