Folia Geobotanica

, Volume 53, Issue 2, pp 175–190 | Cite as

Presence of bark influences the succession of cryptogamic wood-inhabiting communities on conifer fallen logs

  • Helena Kushnevskaya
  • Ekaterina Shorohova


Predictors of cryptogamic wood-inhabiting communities need to be examined to understand the drivers of forest biodiversity. We estimated the influence of bark cover on the wood-inhabiting vegetation on conifer logs in early stages of epixylic succession in mature European boreal and hemi-boreal forests. Abundance of substrate groups with respect to log attributes was estimated with generalized linear and generalized linear mixed models. The structure and composition of epixylic communities was analysed using non-metric multidimensional scaling with subsequent environmental fitting. The abundance of true epixylics was inversely related to bark cover. In the first stage, bark cover did not influence the abundance of epiphytes and epigeous species; positively influenced the abundance of facultative epixylics on spruce logs and negatively influenced it on pine logs. In the second stage, the effect of bark cover was positive for epiphytes and epigeous species on spruce logs and for facultative epixylics independent of log species identity and negative for epigeous species on pine logs. Generalist species did not depend on bark cover. Total cover of wood-inhabiting vegetation was marginally influenced by bark cover. The effect of bark cover on epixylic vegetation at community level was negligible. In general, bark cover favours the establishment and growth of species with low substrate specificity. This preference may lead to either burial of logs by epigeous bryophytes, or facilitation of succession towards the dominance of ground vegetation.


Decay Decomposition Deadwood Coarse Woody debris Bryophytes Log diameter 



Data analysis and preparation of the manuscript were supported by the Russian Science Foundation (15-14-10023). The fieldwork was financially supported by WWF, Saint-Petersburg State University, Russian Foundation for Basic Research (06-04-48549), Finnish Forest Research Institute. Ilkka Vahna-Majamaa, Denis Mirin, Aleksandr Kozykin and Kaija Puputti helped with organization of fieldwork. Dmitry Gimmelbrant, Irina Stepanchikova and Natalia Glushkovskaya helped in identifying lichen specimens. The map was created by Veronika Voronina. We thank Eugene Borovichev and Denis Mirin for valuable comments on the manuscript. Carla Burton revised the language. The comments from the editor and two reviewers significantly improved the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Institute of Botany, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Forest Research Institute of the Karelian Research CentreRussian Academy of SciencePetrozavodskRussia
  2. 2.Saint-Petersburg State UniversitySt PetersburgRussia
  3. 3.Saint-Petersburg State Forest Technical UniversitySaint PetersburgRussia
  4. 4.Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke)HelsinkiFinland

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