iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Stand structure and deadwood amount influences saproxylic fungal biodiversity in Mediterranean mountain unmanaged forests

Anna Maria Persiani (1)   , Fabio Lombardi (2), Dario Lunghini (1), Vito Mario Granito (1), Roberto Tognetti (3-4), Oriana Maggi (1), Silvia Pioli (1), Marco Marchetti (3)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 9, Issue 1, Pages 115-124 (2015)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor1304-008
Published: Sep 08, 2015 - Copyright © 2015 SISEF

Research Articles

Old-growth forests are key elements of ecosystem diversity and conservation strategies, providing niche differentiation and trophic pathways that produce structural and compositional heterogeneity. In these forests, deadwood is particularly important for saproxylic and mycorrhizal fungi, sustaining forest productivity and environmental services. In this study, the saproxylic fungal diversity in Mediterranean mountain forests, characterized by different management histories and forest types (holm oak and beech), was analyzed. The relationships between saproxylic fungal biodiversity and structural attributes were considered in three forest stands of the Apennines (Italy). In addition, descriptive environmental parameters and forest traits were related to prevailing fungal communities, in order to analyze the species composition and distribution patterns of saproxylic fungi resulting from the ordination processes. The study sites were selected on the basis of their late-serial stage of development. Species frequency was analyzed through multivariate techniques to test the relationships between fungi, structural attributes and environmental variables. A Detrended Correspondence Analysis (DCA) was used to investigate the response of the overall fungal community structure to environmental gradients. Living tree volume, altitude, vegetation type, and the frequency of species with ephemeral sporocarp lifespan played a crucial role in diversifying species distribution patterns. Deadwood volume and decay classes were related to taxonomic and trophic community diversity. However, differences between the considered climatic regions exerted a major role on the occurrence of fungi with ephemeral sporocarps more than deadwood abundance, utilized primarily as fructification substrate.


Apennines Forests, Forest Biodiversity, Old-growth Forest, Saproxylic Fungi, Sporocarp Lifespan, Structural Heterogeneity

Authors’ address

Anna Maria Persiani
Dario Lunghini
Vito Mario Granito
Oriana Maggi
Silvia Pioli
Dipartimento di Biologia Ambientale, Sapienza Università di Roma, p.le Aldo Moro 5, I-00185 Roma (Italy)
Fabio Lombardi
Department of Agronomy, Mediterranean University of Reggio Calabria, loc. Feo di Vito, I-89060, Reggio Calabria (Italy)
Roberto Tognetti
Marco Marchetti
Dipartimento di Bioscienze e Territorio, Università degli Studi del Molise, c.da Fonte Lappone, I-86090 Pesche (Italy)
Roberto Tognetti
EFI Project Centre on Mountain Forests (MOUNTFOR), v. Edmund Mach 1, I-38010 San Michele all’Adige (Italy)

Corresponding author

Anna Maria Persiani


Persiani AM, Lombardi F, Lunghini D, Granito VM, Tognetti R, Maggi O, Pioli S, Marchetti M (2015). Stand structure and deadwood amount influences saproxylic fungal biodiversity in Mediterranean mountain unmanaged forests. iForest 9: 115-124. - doi: 10.3832/ifor1304-008

Academic Editor

Giustino Tonon

Paper history

Received: Apr 03, 2014
Accepted: Jun 29, 2015

First online: Sep 08, 2015
Publication Date: Feb 21, 2016
Publication Time: 2.37 months

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