Diversity and distribution of epiphytic bryophytes on Bramley's Seedling trees in East of England apple orchards.
Epiphytic bryophytes on apple trees were investigated in relation to a selection of tree characteristics. Management of orchard trees for fruit production affects the habitats available for colonisation and growth of epiphytes on trunks and branches. Bryophytes recorded on Bramley’s Seedling apple trees in orchards in Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire showed a high level of similarity in species composition between the orchards. The similarity between orchards was, however, much reduced when relative species cover on the trees was taken into account. Twenty three species were recorded on the 71 trees sampled for detailed investigation. Tree structure, as determined by management, explained about 10% of the observed variation in bryophyte cover. Within that, trunk girth and distance to nearest neighbouring orchard trees were the most important factors. This information is of value to orchard managers aiming to become more proactive in managing their habitats for the benefit of biodiversity