iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Dead wood quality influences species diversity of rare cryptogams in temperate broadleaved forests

Zydrunas Preikša (1)   , Gediminas Brazaitis (2), Vitas Marozas (1), Bogdan Jaroszewicz (3)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 9, Issue 2, Pages 276-285 (2015)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor1483-008
Published: Sep 28, 2015 - Copyright © 2015 SISEF

Research Articles

Dead wood is one of the most important indicators of forest naturalness and the most important manageable habitat for biodiversity in forests. Standing and lying dead wood, and especially coarse woody debris, plays an important part in creating habitats for many highly specialized organisms, e.g., insects, fungi, lichens and bacteria. Temperate mixed deciduous forests, rich in species, have been studied only to a small extent from the point of view of the ecology of wood-related cryptogams. Our study aimed at the reduction of the gap in knowledge about the ecological characteristics of dead wood-dependent organisms by focusing on species of cryptogams developing on various dead wood structures typical of temperate non-beech forests. Studies were performed in forests located in Lithuania, Poland, Belarus and Russia. We recorded 48 species of cryptogams: 18 species of bryophytes, 24 species of fungi and 6 species of lichens developing on dead wood. Our study stresses the importance of all types of dead wood as a substrate for the development of rare cryptogam species. Logs were the most important substratum type for cryptogams, followed by snags, dead trees and stumps. The cryptogam species richness on logs was several times higher than on the three other types of substrata. Coarse logs of intermediate decay stages hosted the highest number of cryptogams, followed by freshly fallen logs and, finally, well decayed logs. Assessing the importance of dead wood quality for the studied cryptogams, we found that intermediate decay stages are extremely important for fungi, while bryophytes or lichens do not show a clear preference. The highest number of cryptogams was found on Fraxinus excelsior, Quercus robur and Picea abies, while other tree species had less than half cryptogam species.


Macrolichens, Fungi, Bryophytes, Tree Species, Indicator Species, Decay Stages

Authors’ address

Zydrunas Preikša
Vitas Marozas
Institute of Environment and Ecology, Aleksandras Stulginskis University, Studentu 11, LT-53361, Kaunas region, Akademija (Lithuania)
Gediminas Brazaitis
Institute of Forest Biology and Silviculture, Aleksandras Stulginskis University, Studentu 11, LT-53361, Kaunas region, Akademija (Lithuania)
Bogdan Jaroszewicz
Bialowieza Geobotanical Station, Faculty of Biology, University of Warsaw, Sportowa 19, PL 17-230, Bialowieza (Poland)

Corresponding author

Zydrunas Preikša


Preikša Z, Brazaitis G, Marozas V, Jaroszewicz B (2015). Dead wood quality influences species diversity of rare cryptogams in temperate broadleaved forests. iForest 9: 276-285. - doi: 10.3832/ifor1483-008

Academic Editor

Massimo Faccoli

Paper history

Received: Oct 22, 2014
Accepted: May 18, 2015

First online: Sep 28, 2015
Publication Date: Apr 26, 2016
Publication Time: 4.43 months

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