Lichens in old-growth and managed mountain spruce forests in the Czech Republic: assessment of biodiversity, functional traits and bioindicators

  • Jiří MalíčekEmail author
  • Zdeněk Palice
  • Jan Vondrák
  • Martin Kostovčík
  • Veronika Lenzová
  • Jeňýk Hofmeister
Original Paper
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Forest and plantation biodiversity


Natural spruce forests are restricted to the highest mountain ranges in the Czech Republic. Spruce is also the commonest tree species in managed forests. Owing to a massive decline of spruce forests in Central Europe, caused by recent climatic fluctuations and disturbances, the lichen diversity and species composition was compared between ten representative natural mountain old-growth forests in the Czech Republic and their counterparts in mature managed forests. The old-growth forests are characterized by a higher species richness, abundance, number of Red-listed species, functional, taxonomic and phylogenetic diversities. Plots with the highest species richness are situated in the Šumava Mountains, an area with a relatively low sulphur deposition in the past. Bioindication analysis searching for lichen indicators supported several species (e.g. Xylographa vitiligo, Chaenotheca sphaerocephala) and genera (e.g. Calicium, Xylographa) with a strong preference for old-growth forests. Analysis of lichen functional traits revealed a higher abundance of species with a vegetative reproduction in managed forests that may be explained by a higher efficiency in colonization by young successional stages. Lichens with stalked apothecia, pigmented ascospores and large ascospores are more frequent in old-growth forests. Our results are briefly discussed in terms of nature conservation, focusing on national refugees of old-growth forest species, biodiversity hot-spots, practical use of indicator species and representative measures for an evaluation of forest quality.


Functional diversity Functional traits Phylogenetic diversity Species richness Substrate specialists Taxonomic diversity 



We are grateful to Mark Seaward who kindly revised the English, Martin Adámek who prepared extrapolated climatic data, Filip Oulehle who provided data on sulphur and nitrogen deposition, and Jana Kocourková, Ilona Sommerová and Lucie Zemanová who helped us during the field research. Both anonymous reviewers helped to improve the manuscript. This study was supported by the long-term research development Project RVO 67985939, Grant Project No. 1074416 from the Charles University Grant Agency and the Project EHP-CZ02-OV-1-027-2015.

Supplementary material

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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of BotanyThe Czech Academy of SciencesPrůhoniceCzech Republic
  2. 2.Faculty of Biological SciencesUniversity of South BohemiaČeské BudějoviceCzech Republic
  3. 3.Department of Genetics and Microbiology, Faculty of ScienceCharles University in PraguePraha 2Czech Republic
  4. 4.BIOCEV, Institute of MicrobiologyAcademy of Sciences of the Czech RepublicVestecCzech Republic
  5. 5.Department of Botany, Faculty of SciencesCharles University in PraguePraha 2Czech Republic
  6. 6.Department of Forest Ecology, Faculty of Forestry and Wood SciencesCzech University of Life Sciences PraguePraha 6Czech Republic
  7. 7.Department of Biogeochemical and Hydrological Cycles, Global Change Research InstituteThe Czech Academy of SciencesBrnoCzech Republic

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