The diversity of easy-to-study organisms (e.g. vascular plants) is often used as a proxy for the diversity of other organisms whose investigation needs more effort, time and specialist knowledge. Some previous studies have found positive relationships between plant and macrofungal diversity and thus support this approach, while others question this practice. Our aim was to explore the possibility of using plant diversity as surrogate for macrofungal diversity in the forests of the Pannonian ecoregion. A total of 19 permanent plots in north-east Hungary were sampled for vascular plants and macrofungi. The effect on macrofungal abundance and diversity, as well as degradation level, of plant evenness and richness was tested using generalized linear models. Species richness of macrofungi assemblages proved to be independent of the diversity and naturalness of vascular plant communities; however, there was congruence in the composition of the two communities. In contrast to diversity, macrofungi abundance was significantly negatively correlated to plant species richness. There was a hump-backed relationship between the abundance of terricolous macrofungi and the degradation level estimated on the basis of the occurrence of vascular plants, although degradation did not influence the abundance of lignicolous macrofungi. Our results question the reliability of decisions on nature conservation actions based on a few groups of easy-to-observe organisms, and underline the necessity of studying as wide a range of taxonomic groups as possible.
- Habitat degradation
- Intermediate disturbance hypothesis
- Macrofungi diversity
- Plant richness
- Sporocarp abundance
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics