Journal article

Verifying an extinction debt in north Swedish boreal forests


No matching items found.

Research Areas

No matching items found.

Publication Details

Author list: Berglund, Håkan;Jonsson, Bengt Gunnar

Publication year: 2005

Start page: 338

End page: 348

Number of pages: 11

ISSN: 0888-8892


View additional information: View in Web of Science


Destruction and fragmentation of natural habitats results in small species populations that face increased risk of extinction. A time delay may be involved in the regional extinction of species, and the number of species that eventually may go extinct in the future is called the ""extinction debt."" In boreal Sweden, we examined whether the number of epiphytic crustose lichens and wood-inhabiting fungi in old-growth forest remnants diverges from species richness levels in forest patches that have been naturally isolated for millennia. An excess of species in forest remnants could indicate the presence of an extinction debt. Observed species richness in 32 old-growth forest remnants (also called woodland key habitats [WKHs]) was compared with predicted species richness. To predict species richness we used regression models based on data from 46 isolated old-growth forest patches in a forest-wetland matrix. The reference landscape is ancient and assumed to reflect the conditions of insular floras in dynamic equilibrium. Stand factors constituted predictive variables in the models. The observed number of lichen species was higher than expected (i.e., an extinction debt among lichens may exist). By contrast, there was no significant difference between observed and expected species richness among wood-inhabiting fungi. The species richness of wood-inhabiting fungi has adjusted to the changes in forest and landscape structure more rapidly than the species richness of lichens. Differences in substrate dynamics between epiphytes on living trees and species growing on decaying logs might explain the difference between species groups. The results also indicate that population densities of red-listed species were low, which may result in continuing extinctions of red-listed species. The importance of WKHs might be overvalued because species may be lost if conservation efforts consider only protection and preservation of WKHs.


No matching items found.


No matching items found.


No matching items found.