Ivar Gjerde

Research Professor

(+47) 915 15 139
ivar.gjerde@nibio.no

Place
Bergen

Visiting address
Thormøhlensgate 55, 5006 Bergen

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Abstract

The long-term success of sites selected for species conservation depends on the persistence of target species. Red List species or threatened species lists are frequently defined as target species, but when Red Lists are updated, their species composition may change. Here we investigate the effects of Red List updates on the long-term robustness of fine-scale site selection. We used records of red-listed species (vascular plants, bryophytes, macrolichens, and polypore fungi) recorded in 1997–1998 in 1058 sample plots (50 × 50 m) from six forest landscapes in Norway, and four consecutive issues of the Norwegian Red List for species (1998, 2006, 2010, 2015). Sites were selected based on the first issue (1998) using both a scoring (“hotspot”) approach and a complementarity approach, and the ability of selected sites to include red-listed species of later issues was measured. In four boreal forests the mean proportion of red-listed species included in selected sites were reduced by18% during the study period, whereas no such effect was found in two hemiboreal forests, where increased clustering of red-listed species in sites compensated for target species changes. Changing target species adds to earlier documented challenges caused by population dynamics, and we suggest that alternatives to using occurrences of target species in site selection should be considered, and particularly at finer spatial scales.

Abstract

Background: The knowledge of Norwegian tardigrades is poor and their diversity, distribution and ecology in Norwegian forests is unknown. This project aims to investigate tardigrade diversity associated with different types of substrates in forests in Norway, evaluate the impact of forestry management practices on tardigrade biodiversity for future conservation policies, and expand the DNA barcode library of Norwegian tardigrades. It will also use environmental barcoding of substrates to test the effectiveness of this method in documenting tardigrade diversity and distribution. Results: We collected three hundred bryophyte-, lichen- and leaf litter samples from various protected deciduous and coniferous forests in Norway in 2017. The vegetation in each sample was identified, mostly to species-level. Tardigrades were extracted from most bryophyte- and lichen samples, and some litter samples. Preliminary analyses show that there are differences in abundance and community composition between both forest- and substrate types. Litter samples show lower abundances than bryophyte and lichen samples, but a higher diversity than expected. Conclusions: Remaining samples still need to be processed, but our preliminary conclusion is that different substrates and forest types host different tardigrade communities. DNA-barcoding will be performed on single specimens of as many of the sampled species as possible and added to the Barcode of Life Data Systems database (BOLD). We expect that DNA metabarcoding of environmental samples from selected localities will record the same diversity as traditional extraction of specimens, but also add information on the presence of species that were undetected.

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Abstract

In temperate forests, red wood ants (Formica aquilonia) are considered ecosystem engineers affecting ecosystem properties and functions. Possible effects of F. aquilonia ants on species communities of invertebrates and plants were studied in the pine-dominated Geitaknottane forest reserve, Norway. Species richness of carabids, lichens and epiphytes (tree-living lichens and bryophytes) was negatively affected by ant mound density. Species of all groups, except for lichens and snails, were affected either positively or negatively by ant presence. Food availability and interference competition are plausible explanations of decreased species richness and negative species associations in carabids; while collecting, foraging and changed chemical environment may explain decreased species richness in lichens and epiphytes. Thirteen out of 15 plant and invertebrate species were weakly associated with ant mound density. Associations of only two species (Carabus violaceus and Drusilla canaliculata) were negative, while Pella humeralis and Agroeca proxima were associated positively and very strongly with ant mounds. Positive associations with ants of those invertebrates may be a response to excessive abundance of food and chemical mimicry.

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Abstract

National Red Lists are widely used prioritizing tools for nature conservation. However, status and trends of species vary with scale, and accounting for a larger spatial scale may provide complementary perspectives for nature conservation.We investigate effects of upscaling and influence of wider-scale distribution patterns for composition of Red Lists. We collated nationally red-listed forest species in Norway, Sweden and Finland, and extracted “Candidates for a Fennoscandian Red List” (CFRL), defined as species red-listed where they appear in the region. For each country, we compared composition of organism groups and forest type associations of species that were national CFRL to the nationally red-listed species not CFRL. European distribution patterns were compared to investigate how broader-scale distribution is reflected in national Red Lists. Among the 4830 nationally red-listed forest species in Fennoscandia, 58% were CFRL. The fraction of species in the different forest type and species groups differed significantly between the two spatial scales for several groups, although the overall differences in composition were relatively small. Red-listed species had more confined distribution patterns, suggesting that many nationally red-listed species owe their status to being at the edge of their distribution range. An up-scaling had a large effect on which species designated to a Red List, but a relatively small impact on which organism groups or forest types that contained most red-listed species. A regional perspective generated by compilation of national Red Lists can give valuable complementary information on the status of species and effects of scale.

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Abstract

Retention of selected trees in clear-felling areas has become an important conservation measure in managed forests. Trees with large size or high age are usually preferred as retention trees. In this paper we investigated whether a single large or several small trees should be left in clear-felling areas to serve as life boats and future habitat for epiphytic species. The focal species were 25 Lobarion epiphytic lichens hosted by aspen (Populus tremula). We analyzed the relationships between: (1) proportion of trees colonized and tree size, (2) number of lichen thalli (lichen bodies) and aspen area, and (3) number of lichen species and aspen area, for 38 forest sites. Mixed effect models and rarefaction analyzes showed that large and small host trees had the same proportion of trees colonized, the same number of thalli, and the same species richness for the same area of aspen bark. This indicates that larger aspens do not have qualities, beyond size, that make them more suitable for Lobarion lichens than smaller sized aspen trees. None of the species, not even the red-listed, showed any tendencies of being dependent on larger aspens, and our results therefore did not support a strategy of retaining only large and old trees for conservation of epiphytic Lobarion lichens. Additionally, young aspens have a longer expected persistence than old aspens. However, old retention trees might be important for other species groups. We therefore recommend a conservational strategy of retaining a mixed selection of small/young and large/old aspens.

Abstract

Several studies have recently reported that common species are more important for species richness patterns than rare species. However, most such studies have been based on broad-scale atlas data. We studied the contribution of different species occupancy, i.e. number of plots occupied, to species richness patterns emerging from species data in 50 by 50 m plots within six 140–200 ha forests in Norway. The study included vascular plants, lichens, bryophytes, and polypore fungi. We addressed the following questions: 1) are common species more correlated with species richness than rare species? 2) How do occupancy classes combine at various levels of species richness? 3) Which occupancy class is best in identifying the overall most species-rich sites (hotspots) by sampling? The results showed that rare species were better correlated with species richness than common species when the information content was accounted for, that high species richness was associated with a higher proportion of less frequent species, and that the best occupancy class for local hotspot identification was species present in 10–30% of the plots within a forest. We argue that the observed correlations between overall richness and sub-assembly richness are primarily structured by the combination of the distributions of species richness and species occupancy. Although these distributions result from general ecological processes, they may also be strongly affected by idiosyncratic elements of the individual datasets caused by the specific environmental composition of a study area. Hence, different datasets collected in different areas may lead to different results regarding the relative importance of common versus rare species, and such effects should be expected on both broad and fine spatial scales. Despite these effects, we suggest that infrequent species will tend to be more strongly correlated to species richness at local scales than at broader scales as a result of more right-skewed species-occupancy distributions.

Abstract

1. Surrogate species measures of biodiversity (SSB) are used worldwide in conservation prioritisations. We address the important question whether the ideas behind SSB are consistent with current knowledge on distribution patterns of species, as reflected in theories of community assembly. 2. We investigated whether assumptions necessary for successful functioning of SSB (nested species assemblages, cross-taxon congruence, spatio-temporal consistency) were supported by predictions from either niche or neutral community models. 3. We found a general mismatch between ideas behind SSB and ecological community theory, except that SSB based on complementarity may be consistent with niche-based theory when gradients in species composition are strong. 4.  Synthesis and applications. The lack of a necessary scientific foundation may explain the disappointing results of empirical tests of SSB. We argue that site selection should be based on costs and opportunities within complementary environmental/land units, rather than expensive inventories of unfounded surrogate species.

Abstract

Arthropods were collected by fogging the canopy of Scots pine Pinus sylvestris selected from a 2 km2 boreal forest area in Sigdal, Norway with the overall purpose to examine whether there were faunal differences in the representation of arthropods among mature and old trees, and specifically for this paper, the biting midges (Ceratopogonidae). Target trees were chosen as pairs, one mature (70-110 years) and one old (250 years or older) tree from six different stands. All knock-down treatments were performed in June and July 1999, before dawn and after a dry and windless night. Knocked-down arthropods were collected in plastic funnels placed systematically on the ground. Funnels remained in place for circa one hour after treatment. Among the 61 species records new to Norway, the most frequently encountered taxon of invertebrates was Diptera, and the family of biting midges, Ceratopogonidae, comprised 30 of 61 (49%) of all new records, compared with the overall species numbers showing 40 biting midges of 193 recorded species (21%). Among the Ceratopogonidae new to Norway, two species new to science and two first records from Europe were found. Coleman rarefaction curves were constructed by running 500 iterations without replacements using EstimateS and showed that there were significantly more new records of Diptera in old trees in comparison with mature trees. A similar pattern of significance (by comparing standard deviations estimated by EstimateS) was found for Diptera when Ceratopogonidae was excluded. New species records of Ceratopogonidae were more common in old trees than in mature trees, although not significantly so. No predominance of new records in old trees was found for arthropods other than Diptera. Old trees are rare and may provide a variety of resources (e.g. resting sites, places to over-winter, hiding places, sites for oviposition, larval habitat, etc.) that are rarely found in younger trees. Thus, the high number of new species records probably result from studying a whole arthropod taxon (Diptera) in a part of a forest ecosystem (canopies) with a suite of microhabitats (old pine trees) that in combination has been poorly investigated earlier.

Abstract

Forest stands are the basic planning units of managed forest landscapes, and the structural composition of these units is important for conservation of biodiversity. We present a methodological approach for identification and mapping of important structural and environmental features of forest stands. Based on an analysis of habitats of red-listed species and a synthesis of results from research on spatial distribution of forest species, we developed a habitat inventory approach (Complementary Hotspot Inventory, CHI) that is currently used in forestry planning in Norway. The CHI maps fine-scale hotspots for 12 habitat types that are further classified according to positions along main environmental gradients (productivity and humidity). Consisting of different substrates in different environments, these habitats to a large degree support different species assemblages. By incorporating both the hotspot and the complementary approach, the CHI produces data tuned for later conservation measures. The high spatial resolution of data facilitates the use of conservation measures at different spatial scales, from single-tree retention to forest reserves. Avalidation test of habitats identified by CHI showed that the density of red-listed species was four times that of randomly selected old forests.

Abstract

Results from a literature review on pinewood ecology, silviculture, genetics, aspects of history and forest resources of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) in western Norway are presented. The pinewoods cover 40 per cent of the forested land, 0.31 million ha. During the last 75 years, the area has increased by 17 per cent and the growing stock has risen from 10 to 34 million m3. The impact of man in previous times was very marked, and has had a significant influence on the present forest conditions. The pronounced climatic gradients mixed with the topographic variation - from the coastal plains via the fjord systems to the high mountains - is reflected in rather steep gradients in the pine forest vegetation. Various floristic elements can be distinguished, from oceanic via the suboceanic in the outer islands to the thermophytic, boreonemoral and boreal elements in the inner fjord districts and valleys. The introduction of spruce (Picea spp.) plantations on 10-15 per cent of former native pine forests has not negatively affected the bird fauna at the landscape scale. Although not particular species rich, the pine forests harbour species usually not found in other forest types. So far, most work in the field of silviculture and forest ecology in the pinewoods of West Norway has been in the form of case studies. Implications of the results for forestry in the region are briefly discussed.

Abstract

The potential as indicators of species richness were investigated for 178 species belonging to six ecologically defined species groups (epiphytic bryophytes on nutrient-rich bark, epiphytic macrolichens on nutrient rich bark, pendant lichens on conifer trees, bryophytes on siliceous rocks, bryophytes on dead conifer wood, and polypore fungi on dead conifer wood), using species data from 0.25 ha plots from three different coniferous forest areas (ca. 200 ha each). A species was defined as a potential indicator species for a species group within a study area if its distribution was statistically significantly nested within the species-plot matrix ranked according to species richness, and if the plot frequency of the species was less than 25%. Only two species were identified as potential indicators within all three areas and on average ≈80% of the potential indicator species were lost from one area to another. The results indicate that inconsistency between areas in the species’ frequency distributions and their position in nested hierarchies may strongly reduce the general predictive power of indicator species of species richness, even if significantly nested patterns are found at the community level. We suggest that indicators related to amount and quality of habitats may be an alternative to lists of indicator species of species richness.

Abstract

We investigated the relationship between site productivity and diversity of vascular plants, bryophytes, lichens, and polypore fungi in forests based on species richness data in 0.25 ha forest plots (grain size), selected from six 150-200 ha study areas (focus), and spanning over a latitudinal distance of 1350 km (extent) in Norway. We (1) searched for prevailing productivity-diversity relationships (PDRs), (2) compared PDRs among taxonomic groups and species found in different micro-habitats, and (3) investigated the effect of increasing plot (grain) size on PDRs. Using vegetation types as a surrogate for site productivity, we found a general pattern of increasing species richness with site productivity. On average total species richness doubled with a ten-fold increase in productivity. Lichens PDRs stood out as less pronounced and more variable than for other species groups investigated. PDRs of species associated with downed logs tended to level off at high-productive sites, a pattern interpreted as an effect of disturbance. Increasing the grain size >10-fold did not change the proportional difference in species richness between sites with high and low productivity.

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Abstract

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Abstract

Vascular plants were investigated as a potential surrogate group in complementary small scale site selection, such as woodland key habitats in Scandinavia. We compared the response of vascular plants to environmental gradients to that of seven other plant, fungal and animal groups within a forest reserve in western Norway using data from 59 plots of 0.25 ha. We also examined whether the spatial changes in species (beta-2 index) of vascular plants matched that of the other groups. All seven groups responded to the same gradients in nutrient richness and humidity as the vascular plants. Furthermore, changes in species composition of vascular plants were reflected in comparable degrees of change among the “target“ groups. The lower the degree of change in species composition between plots in the “target“ groups relative to that of vascular plants, the higher the percentage “target“ species encompassed in a complementary selection of sites based on vascular plants. We conclude that in practical site selection of small scale sites of conservation value, such as woodland key habitats, vascular plants may be used in combination with an inventory of important habitats for rare and/or redlisted forest species, such as dead wood, old trees, deciduous trees, and cliffs.

Abstract

We fogged trees in two pine dominated forests in Norway with a synthetic pyrethroid in order to compare the canopy-dwelling fauna of arthropods between costal (Kvam) and boreal (Sigdal) sites and between old (250-330 years) and mature (60-120 years) trees at Sigdal. Almost 30,000 specimens were assigned to 510 species; only 93 species were present at both sites. Species diversity, as established by rarefaction, was similar in old and mature trees. However, the number of species new to Norway (including nine species new to science) was significantly higher in the old trees. We suggest that the scarcity of old trees, habitat heterogeneity and structural differences between old and mature trees may explain these patterns. Productivity and topographic position at the site of growth explained the between-tree variation in species occurrence for the more abundant species, which were mainly Collembola and Oribatida. Species diversity was similar at the boreal and coastal sites, but there were clear differences in species composition

Abstract

Epiphytic lichens (and some non-lichenized fungi) on 34 coppices (204 stems) of Corylus avellana were investigated in a 140 ha study area in south-western Norway. A total of 65 species were recorded on a total bark area of 63 m2. Corylus in broad-leaved deciduous forest supported more species of macrolichens, and fewer species of icrolichens, than Corylus in pine forest. The macrolichen flora of the deciduous forest differed from that of the pine forest by having a rich flora of species belonging to the Lobarion alliance. Old Corylus coppices with tall stems (>8 m), large girth (>8 cm diameter at breast height) and a noticeable cover of macrolichens (>10% of bark area) supported the highest number of rare species, and overall, species of mcrolichens. More than 50% cover of icrolichens indicated richness and rarity of microlichens on Corylus

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Abstract

The beetle fauna of 299 sporocarps of the bracket fungus Fomitopsis pinicola in a 200 ha spruce forest in southeastern Norway was investigated in relation to sporocarp, tree and forest variables. The sporocarps contained 36 species of beetles, of which six species are on the Norwegian Red List. Of 12,373 individual beetles collected, 91 % were Cis glabratus. Plots of species accumulation curves suggested that there may be more than 60 beetle species present in F. pinicola in the area, but that probably all the specialist Ciidae were found. The major factor influencing beetle diversity turned out to be the level of dead wood at and in the vicinity of the sampling site, with a higher number of species per unit volume of sporocarps in areas with high levels of dead wood. There were also significantly more red-listed species in those areas. Analysing the species occurrence with stepwise logistic regression, we show preferential habitat selection of the six most abundant species of Ciidae. Conservation of beetles associated with bracket fungi using amount of dead wood as a surrogate measurement is discussed.

Abstract

We compared diversity of birds in 35 study plots of equal size (58 ha) and productivity in western Norway, ranging from pure native pine Pinus sylvestris forests (n = 7), through different mosaics of native pine forests and spruce Picea spp. plantations (n = 21), to pure spruce plantations (n = 7). Diversity was evaluated by means of species richness, diversity indices, relative abundance curves and rarefaction. The diversity indices appeared to be less suitable for our purpose. Species richness was higher in pine forest than in spruce forest. However, a peak in species richness was found in mosaic forest. For pooled samples (408 ha), 11 bird species recorded in pine forest were not found in spruce forest, seven species were found in spruce forest but not in pine forest, and seven species were confined to the medium mosaics of pine and spruce forest (on average 56% pine and 44% spruce). We argue that, when mixing two habitat types A and B, the ratio of these habitats that maximize avian diversity depends on the ratio of species confined to habitat A and B, as well as the number of species favoured by the mixture of A and B. Existing spruce plantations (13% of the area) in native pine forests of western Norway have reduced the diversity of birds locally, but increased the diversity of birds on the landscape and regional scale.