Tree-related microhabitats are an important determinant of forest biodiversity. Habitat trees, which typically provide many microhabitats such as hollows, crown dead wood, etc., are therefore selected to maintain those structural attributes within managed forests. To what extent the occurrence of microhabitats on potential habitat trees may be predicted from common tree attributes is a question of high practical relevance. Until now, most studies have attempted to predict the quantity of microhabitats at the tree or forest stand level. In our study, we aimed at explaining microhabitat occurrence from a qualitative perspective by considering their diversity. Tree diameter at breast height (dbh), tree species, and canopy class were useful predictors of microhabitat diversity. Microhabitat diversity on broadleaved trees was on average higher than in conifers of the same diameter. In contrast to microhabitat quantity, microhabitat diversity saturated towards higher dbh levels. Microhabitat diversity in beech trees of lower tree canopy classes was found to be surprisingly high. Habitat trees support not only more, but also more diverse, microhabitats in comparison to crop trees. Considering these findings on microhabitat distribution, the selection of habitat trees within Central European mixed mountain forests can be significantly improved.
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