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Victor Johansson, Thomas Ranius and Tord Snäll Epiphyte metapopulation persistence after drastic habitat decline and low tree regeneration: time-lags and effects of conservation actions Journal of Applied Ecology 50

Version of Record online: 21 JAN 2013 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.12049

Due to low rates of local extinction, epiphytes display long time-lags to reach new equilibriums after habitat loss. Thus, we should expect ongoing declines in epiphyte metapopulations in landscapes where old trees have recently declined. Slow extinction gives an opportunity to improve persistence by conservation actions, but the success depends on species traits and the current density of old trees. In landscapes with many old but few young trees, epiphytes may persist if conservation actions quickly address the need to increase tree regeneration rates. The best conservation approach for long-term persistence of epiphytic lichens is to ensure regular tree regeneration in landscapes with a current high density of old trees.

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