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The effects of vegetation types and microhabitats on carabid beetle community composition in cool temperate Japan

Ogai, Takahiro, Kenta, Tanaka
Ecological research 2016 v.31 no.2 pp. 177-188
A horizons, Alnus japonica, Betula, Carabidae, Fagus crenata, Larix kaempferi, Pinus densiflora, Quercus mongolica, afforestation, body weight, community structure, coniferous forests, environmental factors, forest plantations, grasslands, microhabitats, pitfall traps, soil depth, soil water, soil water content, trapping, Japan
The effects of vegetation types and environmental factors on carabid beetle (Coleoptera: Carabidae) communities were studied. Carabid beetles were collected using pitfall traps (total 2844 trapping days) and seven microenvironmental factors were measured in four vegetation types: grassland, natural evergreen coniferous forest (Pinus densiflora), deciduous broad-leaved natural forest (Quercus crispula, Betula platyphylla, Alnus japonica, or Fagus crenata), and deciduous coniferous plantation (Larix kaempferi) in cool temperate Japan. These four vegetation types provided a novel comparison between natural forests and plantations because the vast majority of related studies have investigated only deciduous broad-leaved natural forests and evergreen coniferous plantations. PERMANOVA indicated that vegetation types affected carabid community composition. Ordination plots showed that community composition differed greatly between grassland and forest vegetation types, but that community composition in the plantation forest overlapped with that of natural forest types. Characteristics differentiating the grassland included a high proportion of winged species and a low mean carabid body weight. Among the examined environmental factors, litter depth, soil water content, and depth of the soil A-horizon had large effects on carabid communities. These results suggest that the effect of afforestation on carabid communities in cool temperate Japan might be insignificant compared with the effects of cover types (deciduous vs. evergreen) and microenvironmental factors.