Browsing by Organization "Department of Applied Biology, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry"

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  • Pohjamo, Maria (Helsingin yliopisto, 2008)
    The area of intensively managed forests, in which required conditions for several liverwort species are seldom found, has expanded over the forest landscape during the last century. Liverworts are very sensitive to habitat changes, because they demand continuously moist microclimate. Consequently, about third of the forest liverworts have been classified as threatened or near threatened in Finland. The general objective of this thesis is to increase knowledge of the reproductive and dispersal strategies of the substrate-specific forest bryophytes. A further aim was to develop recommendations for conservation measures for species inhabiting unstable and stable habitats in forest landscape. Both population ecological and genetic methods have been applied in the research. Anastrophyllum hellerianum inhabits spatially and temporally limited substrate patches, decaying logs, which can be considered as unstable habitats. The results show that asexual reproduction by gemmae is the dominant mode of reproduction, whereas sexual reproduction is considerably infrequent. Unlike previously assumed, not only spores but also the asexual propagules may contribute to long-distance dispersal. The combination of occasional spore production and practically continuous, massive gemma production facilitates dispersal both on a local scale and over long distances, and it compensates for the great propagule losses that take place preceding successful establishment at suitable sites. However, establishment probability of spores may be restricted because of environmental and biological limitations linked to the low success of sexual reproduction. Long-lasting dry seasons are likely to result in a low success of sexual reproduction and decreased release rate of gemmae from the shoots, and consequent fluctuations in population sizes. In the long term, the substratum limitation is likely to restrict population sizes and cause local extinctions, especially in small-sized remnant populations. Contrastingly, larger forest fragments with more natural disturbance dynamics, to which the species is adapted, are pivotal to species survival. Trichocolea tomentella occupies stable spring and mesic habitats in woodland. The relatively small populations are increasingly fragmented with a high risk for extinction for extrinsic reasons. The results show that T. tomentella mainly invests in population persistence by effective clonal growth via forming independent ramets and in competitive ability, and considerably less in sexuality and dispersal potential. The populations possess relatively high levels of genetic diversity regardless of population size and of degree of isolation. Thus, the small-sized populations inhabiting stable habitats should not be neglected when establishing conservation strategies for the species and when considering the habitat protection of small spring sites. Restricted dispersal capacity, also on a relatively small spatial scale, is likely to prevent successful (re-)colonization in the potential habitat patches of recovering forest landscapes. By contrast, random short-range dispersal of detached vegetative fragments within populations at suitable habitat seems to be frequent. Thus, the restoration actions of spring and streamside habitats close to the populations of T. tomentella may contribute to population expansion. That, in turn, decreases the harmful effects of environmental stochasticity.