[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Changes in the forest management practices have strongly influenced the distribution of species inhabiting old-growth forests.
The epiphytic woodland lichen Lobaria pulmonaria is frequently used as a model species to study the factors affecting the population biology of lichens. We sampled 252 L. pulmonaria individuals from 12 populations representing three woodland types differing in their ecological continuity and management
intensity in Estonia. We used eight mycobiont-specific microsatellite loci to quantify genetic diversity among the populations.
We calculated the Sørensen distance to estimate genetic dissimilarity among individuals within populations. We revealed that
L. pulmonaria populations have significantly higher genetic diversity in old-growth forests than in managed forests and wooded meadows.
We detected a significant woodland-type-specific pattern of genetic dissimilarity among neighbouring L. pulmonaria individuals, which suggests that in wooded meadows and managed forests dominating is vegetative reproduction. The vegetative
dispersal distance between the host trees of L. pulmonaria was found to be only 15–30m. Genetic dissimilarity among individuals was also dependent on tree species and trunk diameter.
Lobaria pulmonaria populations in managed forests included less juveniles compared to old-growth forests and wooded meadows, indicating that
forest management influences life stage structure within populations. We conclude that as intensive stand management reduces
the genetic diversity of threatened species in woodland habitats, particular attention should be paid to the preservation
of remnant populations in old-growth habitats. Within managed habitats, conservation management should target on maintenance
of the stand’s structural diversity and availability of potential host trees.
KeywordsGenetic dissimilarity–Genetic distance–Epiphytic lichen–Microsatellites–Managed forest–Old-growth forest–Population genetics–Wooded meadow
Full-text · Article · Jul 2011 · Biodiversity and Conservation