Effects of forest management on bryophyte communities on deadwood
Müller, Jörg; Boch, Steffen; Blaser, Steffen; Fischer, Markus; Prati, Daniel
Epixylic bryophytes are important components of forest vegetation but are currently endangered by increment of wood harvest and intensive forest management. In this paper we present a study about the relationship between forest management, deadwood abundance, deadwood attributes and species richness of epixylic bryophytes on 30 plots comprising three forest types (managed coniferous, managed deciduous and unmanaged deciduous forests) in three regions in Germany. Additionally we analyzed the relations between deadwood attributes (wood species, decay, deadwood type, size) and bryophytes on deadwood items (n = 799) and calculated species interaction networks of wood species and bryophytes. Overall, species richness of epixylic bryophytes was positively related to deadwood abundance and diversity. The mean deadwood abundance was lowest in unmanaged forests (9.7 m3 ha-1) compared with 15.0 m3 ha-1 in managed deciduous and 25.1 m3 ha-1 in managed coniferous forests. Accordingly, epixylic bryophyte species richness per plot increased from 7 species per 400 m 2 in unmanaged, 10 in managed deciduous and 16 in managed coniferous forests. The interaction network provided evidence of importance of tree-species diversity for bryophyte diversity and the relevance of particular wood species for rare bryophytes. Generally, the results demonstrate a considerable lack of deadwood in all forest types, even in unmanaged forests. Species richness of epixylic bryophytes was strongly limited by available substrates within the observed deadwood abundance ranging up to only 60 m3 ha-1. Altogether, this suggests a high demand to increase both abundance and diversity of deadwood in forests.