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Landscape-Scale Mixtures of Tree Species are More Effective than Stand-Scale Mixtures for Biodiversity of Vascular Plants, Bryophytes and Lichens

1
Department Silviculture and Forest Ecology of the Temperate Zones, University of Goettingen, Büsgenweg 1, D-37077 Göttingen, Germany
2
Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Zürcherstrasse 111, CH-8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland
3
Institute of Plant Sciences, University of Bern, CH-3013 Bern, Switzerland
4
Institute for Biochemistry and Biology, University of Potsdam, Maulbeerallee 1, 14469 Potsdam, Germany
5
Department of Nature Conservation, Heinz Sielmann Foundation, Unter den Kiefern 9, D-14641 Wustermark, Germany
6
Max-Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, D-07745 Jena, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2019, 10(1), 73; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10010073
Received: 27 December 2018 / Revised: 16 January 2019 / Accepted: 17 January 2019 / Published: 19 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Causes and Consequences of Species Diversity in Forest Ecosystems)
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Abstract

Tree species diversity can positively affect the multifunctionality of forests. This is why conifer monocultures of Scots pine and Norway spruce, widely promoted in Central Europe since the 18th and 19th century, are currently converted into mixed stands with naturally dominant European beech. Biodiversity is expected to benefit from these mixtures compared to pure conifer stands due to increased abiotic and biotic resource heterogeneity. Evidence for this assumption is, however, largely lacking. Here, we investigated the diversity of vascular plants, bryophytes and lichens at the plot (alpha diversity) and at the landscape (gamma diversity) level in pure and mixed stands of European beech and conifer species (Scots pine, Norway spruce, Douglas fir) in four regions in Germany. We aimed to identify compositions of pure and mixed stands in a hypothetical forest landscape that can optimize gamma diversity of vascular plants, bryophytes and lichens within regions. Results show that gamma diversity of the investigated groups is highest when a landscape comprises different pure stands rather than tree species mixtures at the stand scale. Species mainly associated with conifers rely on light regimes that are only provided in pure conifer forests, whereas mixtures of beech and conifers are more similar to beech stands. Combining pure beech and pure conifer stands at the landscape scale can increase landscape level biodiversity and conserve species assemblages of both stand types, while landscapes solely composed of stand scale tree species mixtures could lead to a biodiversity reduction of a combination of investigated groups of 7 up to 20%. View Full-Text
Keywords: Fagus sylvatica; Pinus sylvestris; Picea abies; Pseudotsuga menziesii; forest management; tree species diversity; forest conversion; gamma diversity; landscape scale; Biodiversity Exploratories Fagus sylvatica; Pinus sylvestris; Picea abies; Pseudotsuga menziesii; forest management; tree species diversity; forest conversion; gamma diversity; landscape scale; Biodiversity Exploratories
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Heinrichs, S.; Ammer, C.; Mund, M.; Boch, S.; Budde, S.; Fischer, M.; Müller, J.; Schöning, I.; Schulze, E.-D.; Schmidt, W.; Weckesser, M.; Schall, P. Landscape-Scale Mixtures of Tree Species are More Effective than Stand-Scale Mixtures for Biodiversity of Vascular Plants, Bryophytes and Lichens. Forests 2019, 10, 73.

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