This study is focused on the selection of variables affecting lichen and bryophyte diversity in Mediterranean deciduous forests. Plots representing two forest types (Fagus sylvatica and Quercus cerris forests) and two forest continuity categories (old-growth (OG) and non-OG forests) were selected in the Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park (Italy). The presence and the abundance of bryophytes and epiphytic lichens were recorded. Structural variables of the forests and vascular plant species richness have been used as predictors. A strong positive correspondence between the two groups of organisms was found. Higher species richness and the distribution of rare species are related to OG stands, while a qualitative (species composition) rather than a quantitative (species richness) difference between the two forest types was observed. Some species elsewhere considered as indicators of forest continuity, such as Lobaria pulmonaria, Antitrichia curtipendula, and Homalothecium sericeum, are associated with OG forests, independently from forest type, suggesting that they can be regarded as suitable indicators also in Mediterranean forests. Finally, our results suggest that old trees, high levels of basal area, a broad range of diameter classes, and high understory diversity are the main structural features affecting cryptogamic communities, while no correlation was found with the occurrence of deadwood.

Lichens and bryophytes as indicators of old-growth features in Mediterranean forests.

ALEFFI, Michele;
2010

Abstract

This study is focused on the selection of variables affecting lichen and bryophyte diversity in Mediterranean deciduous forests. Plots representing two forest types (Fagus sylvatica and Quercus cerris forests) and two forest continuity categories (old-growth (OG) and non-OG forests) were selected in the Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park (Italy). The presence and the abundance of bryophytes and epiphytic lichens were recorded. Structural variables of the forests and vascular plant species richness have been used as predictors. A strong positive correspondence between the two groups of organisms was found. Higher species richness and the distribution of rare species are related to OG stands, while a qualitative (species composition) rather than a quantitative (species richness) difference between the two forest types was observed. Some species elsewhere considered as indicators of forest continuity, such as Lobaria pulmonaria, Antitrichia curtipendula, and Homalothecium sericeum, are associated with OG forests, independently from forest type, suggesting that they can be regarded as suitable indicators also in Mediterranean forests. Finally, our results suggest that old trees, high levels of basal area, a broad range of diameter classes, and high understory diversity are the main structural features affecting cryptogamic communities, while no correlation was found with the occurrence of deadwood.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11581/200139
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