We examined epiphytic macrolichen communities in Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglas-fir) forests across the western Oregon landscape for relationships to environmental gradients, stand age and structure, and commercial thinning. We used a retrospective, blocked design through the Coast and the western Cascade ranges of Oregon. Each of our 17 blocks consisted of a young, unthinned stand (age 50-110 yr); an adjacent, thinned stand of equivalent age; and an old-growth stand (age > 200 yr). We found 110 epiphytic macrolichen taxa in the stands. Forage-providing alectorioid lichens and the nitrogen-fixing cyanolichen Lobaria oregana associated strongly with old-growth stands and remnant old trees in younger stands (unthinned + thinned). Relative to unthinned stands, thinned stands had a slightly higher abundance of alectorioid lichens and a greater presence of Hypogymnia imshaugii. However, thinned stands hosted a lower landscape-level (I?) diversity, lacking many species that occurred infrequently in the unthinned stands. Patterns in the lichen community composition correlated strongly with climatic gradients; the greatest variation in composition was between the Coast and Cascade ranges. The difference in communities between mountain ranges was greatest among stands 70-110 yr old, suggesting a difference in lichen successional dynamics between the ranges.
Additional publication details
Diversity and succession of epiphytic macrolichen communities in low-elevation managed conifer forests in western Oregon