Species richness of polypores can be increased by supplementing dead wood resource into a boreal forest landscape.

Published online
20 Jul 2020
Content type
Journal article
Journal title
Journal of Applied Ecology

Elo, M. & Halme, P. & Toivanen, T. & Kotiaho, J. S.
Contact email(s)

Publication language
Finland & Nordic Countries


To prevent local species extinction and to counteract population declines, we must ensure species have access to resources they require for life. This can be done through ecological restoration where previously depleted resources are reintroduced. If the restoration is conducted as a one-off action in a large area, it resembles a natural resource pulse, which should lead to increased abundance of individuals, accompanied possibly by increased species richness. Species-energy relationship and underlying theory enable predictions about how different features of resource pulses affect species richness. We conducted a large-scale, controlled, randomized and replicated field experiment to study the effect of a resource addition on polypore species richness in a previously managed boreal forest landscape in Finland. We manipulated the amount and distribution of dead wood and studied the effects on polypore assemblages on added and natural dead wood during 9 years after manipulation (2004-2012). By adding dead wood, species richness grew, mainly through increasing abundances: a large amount of dead wood resulted in higher abundance, higher number and faster accumulation of species than a small amount of dead wood. For a given abundance, dead wood addition contained fewer species than natural dead wood. This is most probably because added dead wood was of low diversity and provided habitat only for a limited number of species. Species richness on natural dead wood increased substantially during the study period, and this increase was not related to the resource manipulation. Thus, habitat improvement through natural succession can occur within a relatively short time period irrespective of human intervention. Synthesis and applications. We demonstrate how the introduction of dead wood additions can strengthen polypore populations. The species taking advance of the introduced resource were primarily common species, instead of rare or red-listed species. Thus, we recommend ensuring the natural formation of dead wood while the populations of the common species supporting ecosystem functions can be increased by adding dead wood in the landscape.

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