Colonization Patterns of Wood-inhabiting Fungi in Boreal Forest

University dissertation from Umeå : Ekologi, miljö och geovetenskap

Abstract: Forest management practices have changed the over-all structure of the Fennoscandian forest landscape resulting in a lack of suitable substrates for many wood-inhabiting species. The objectives of this thesis was to describe the colonization patterns of wood-inhabiting fungi, including the potential role of beetles as dispersal vectors, on different types of dead wood substrate and assess the importance of active measures in the forest landscape in order to restore biodiversity i.e. to increase the amount of dead wood and the use of restoration fire.The results clearly demonstrate the importance of restoration fire for wood-inhabiting fungi in a dry Pinus sylvestris forest. The general pattern for the majority of the species was a drastic decline the first two years after fire. However, after four years most of the species had recovered and were frequently found on logs strongly affected by the fire.The early fungal colonization patterns on fresh experimental Picea abies logs revealed no differences between managed forest stands and stands associated with nature reserves. After five years the species assemblage on the experimental logs was affected by stand age, forest site type, and distance to forest reserves. However, very few red-listed species colonized the logs in spite of being fairly common in the reserve stands. We conclude that the experimental period of only five years was too short to fully evaluate the possibilities to use experimental logs for threatened and red-listed species.We assessed the colonization patterns of different fungal functional groups based upon their different nutritional strategies namely mycorrhizal, saprotrophic on litter and humus, saprotrophic on wood causing white rot, and saprotrophic on wood causing brown rot. The results show that the fungal community undergoes a marked change in dominant nutritional strategies during the initial stage of the colonization process both after fire disturbance and on fresh un-colonized experimental logs.To which extent, saproxylic beetles are involved as passive or active vectors in the dispersal and colonization of wood-inhabiting fungi occurring on dead wood is poorly understood. The results clearly showed that some beetle species do discriminate between different fungal substrates and in particular, the bark beetle Dryocoetes autographus showed significant preference for wood with Fomitopsis rosea mycelium.