The occurrence of fungal species on pine sapwood samples obtained from an above-ground field test study was analysed by terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP), cloning, and sequencing. Samples were taken from eight double-layer set-ups that were exposed to the environment at six different locations in south-west Germany. The occurrence of fungal species was correlated with decay intensity and rot types on one hand, and characteristics of the test sites, such as precipitation, average temperature and height above sea level on the other hand. In total, 62 different fungal species were found based on T-RFLP, cloning and sequencing. Of the 39 species that were found four or more times, 30 were ascomycetes, five were basidiomycetes, and four could not be classified. The most common fungus found in this study was Coniochaeta ligniaria ((Grev.) Cooke), a soft rot fungus that occurred in 87 of 152 samples (57%). No single factor at the test sites seemed to be decisive for the abundance of fungal species or decay intensity. Within the first years of this study, soft rot fungi was found more frequently in pine sapwood specimens than basidiomycetes.