Effects of forest management on bryophyte species richness in Central European forests

Müller, Jörg; Boch, Steffen; Prati, Daniel; Socher, Stephanie A.; Pommer, Ulf; Hessenmöller, Dominik; Schall, Peter; Schulze, Ernst Detlef; Fischer, Markus (2019). Effects of forest management on bryophyte species richness in Central European forests. Forest Ecology and Management, 432, pp. 850-859. Elsevier 10.1016/j.foreco.2018.10.019

[img] Text
ForestEcolManag_432_850.pdf - Published Version
Restricted to registered users only
Available under License Publisher holds Copyright.

Download (741kB) | Request a copy

We studied the effect of three major forest management types (unmanaged beech, selection beech, and age class forests) and stand variables (SMId, soil pH, proportion of conifers, litter cover, deadwood cover, rock cover and cumulative cover of woody trees and shrubs) on bryophyte species richness in 1050 forest plots in three regions in Germany. In addition, we analysed the species richness of four ecological guilds of bryophytes according to their colonized substrates (deadwood, rock, soil, bark) and the number of woodland indicator bryophyte species. Beech selection forests turned out to be the most species rich management type, whereas unmanaged beech forests revealed even lower species numbers than age-class forests. Increasing conifer proportion increased bryophyte species richness but not the number of woodland indicator bryophyte species. The richness of the four ecological guilds mainly responded to the abundance of their respective substrate. We conclude that the permanent availability of suitable substrates is most important for bryophyte species richness in forests, which is not stringently linked to management type. Therefore, managed age-class forests and selection forests may even exceed unmanaged forests in bryophyte species richness due to higher substrate supply and therefore represent important habitats for bryophytes. Typical woodland indicator bryophytes and their species richness were negatively affected by SMId (management intensity) and therefore better indicate forest integrity than the species richness of all bryophytes. Nature conservation efforts should focus on the reduction of management intensity. Moreover, maintaining and increasing a variability of substrates and habitats, such as coarse woody debris, increasing structural heterogeneity by retaining patches with groups of old, mature to over-mature trees in managed forests, maintaining forest climate conditions by silvicultural methods that assure stand continuity, e.g. by selection cutting rather than clear cutting and shelterwood logging might promote bryophyte diversity and in particular the one of woodland indicator bryophytes.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS) > Plant Ecology
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS)

UniBE Contributor:

Boch, Steffen, Prati, Daniel, Socher, Stephanie, Fischer, Markus


500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)








Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

30 Oct 2018 15:35

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:18

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

beech forests; conifer plantations; cryptogams; ecological guilds; forest management; temperate forests; selection vs. age-class forests; unmanaged vs. managed forests; woodland indicator species





Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback