European Journal of Forest Research

, Volume 137, Issue 5, pp 707–718 | Cite as

A continuum of dead wood with various habitat elements maintains the diversity of wood-inhabiting fungi in an old-growth boreal forest

  • Anna Ruokolainen
  • Ekaterina ShorohovaEmail author
  • Reijo Penttilä
  • Vera Kotkova
  • Helena Kushnevskaya
Original Paper


Evidence on habitat associations of threatened wood-inhabiting species in boreal forests may contribute to a better understanding of their ecology and conservation needs. We examined the diversity of wood-inhabiting fungal communities in an old-growth boreal forest with high substrate availability and continuity based on repeated surveys of fruit bodies. The number of species in morphological and functional groups in relation to coarse woody debris (CWD) attributes was estimated with generalized linear models. Additionally, we calculated species interaction networks of CWD attributes and fungal species. The composition of fungal communities was analysed using a non-metric multidimensional scaling with subsequent environmental fitting. Old conifer (especially spruce) logs and large aspen logs with branches represented the most important substrates for the red-listed species and the indicator species of old-growth boreal forests. Among “dynamic” CWD attributes such as time since tree death, decay class and stage of epixylic succession, the latter was the most important indicator of diversity of all species and their morphological and functional groups. The interaction network provided evidence of the importance of tree species diversity for fungal diversity. The composition of fungal communities was tree species specific and related to dynamic attributes, bark cover and diameter of logs. Our results suggest the importance of a continuum of dead wood from different tree species with a variety of niches such as branches, exposed wood, fragmented and complete cover of bark and patches of epixylic vegetation to maintain the assemblages of wood-inhabiting fungi in an old-growth boreal forest.


Brown-rot Coarse woody debris Decomposition Diversity Epixylic Fruit body Polypores White-rot 



The research was supported by the Russian Science Foundation (15-14-10023). We cordially thank the staff of Strict Nature Reserve “Kivach” for organizing the fieldwork on the territory. Ekaterina Kapitsa, Aleksej Polevoi and Anastasia Mamaj helped with selecting the sample plots, selecting and dating the logs as well as with creating the database. Carla Burton revised the language.

Supplementary material

10342_2018_1135_MOESM1_ESM.docx (149 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 148 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Forest Research Institute of the Karelian Research Centre, Russian Academy of SciencePetrozavodskRussia
  2. 2.Saint-Petersburg State Forest Technical UniversitySaint PetersburgRussia
  3. 3.Komarov Botanical Institute of the Russian Academy of SciencesSaint PetersburgRussia
  4. 4.Saint-Petersburg State UniversitySaint PetersburgRussia
  5. 5.Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke)HelsinkiFinland

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