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10 Polypores – indicators of the conservation value of forests

Polypores are fungi whose mycelia are hidden inside trees or the soil. Most polypores are wood-rotting fungi. Slowly over the course of decades they decompose dead trees into soil nutrients that are used by other plants. In this way the nutrient cycle continues, and the forest remains alive and diverse.

Different types of polypores require trees of different ages, and some require specific tree species. Many polypores also work together with living trees, exchanging water and nutrients for photosynthesis products.

The trees decomposed by the polypores make ideal nesting and feeding places for many insects, birds and small mammals. Rotten trees are purposely left in the park to protect natural diversity.

Old forests are extremely vital living environments for many endangered plants and animals. Forest ecologists therefore pay a lot of attention to polypores, which can tell a lot about the inhabitants and conservation value of the forest.

Over 70 different species of polypores have been identified in Maunula – representing more than a quarter of all the polypore species identified in Finland.