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The effect of peatland drainage and restoration on Odonata species richness and abundance

Elo, Merja, Penttinen, Jouni, Kotiaho, Janne S
BMC ecology 2015 v.15 no.1 pp. 42
Anisoptera (Odonata), Bryopsida, Zygoptera, drainage, habitat destruction, land restoration, larvae, models, peatlands, species diversity, vascular plants, vegetation, Finland
BACKGROUND: Restoration aims at reversing the trend of habitat degradation, the major threat to biodiversity. In Finland, more than half of the original peatland area has been drained, and during recent years, restoration of some of the drained peatlands has been accomplished. Short-term effects of the restoration on peatland hydrology, chemistry and vegetation are promising but little is known about how other species groups apart from vascular plants and bryophytes respond to restoration efforts. RESULTS: Here, we studied how abundance and species richness of Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies) respond to restoration. We sampled larvae in three sites (restored, drained, pristine) on each of 12 different study areas. We sampled Odonata larvae before restoration (n = 12), during the first (n = 10) and the third (n = 7) year after restoration and used generalized linear mixed models to analyze the effect of restoration. Drained sites had lower abundance and species richness than pristine sites. During the third year after restoration both abundance and species richness had risen in restored sites. CONCLUSIONS: Our results show that Odonata suffer from drainage, but seem to benefit from peatland restoration and are able to colonize newly formed water pools already within three years after restoration.