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Effects of forest management on ground-dwelling beetles (Coleoptera; Carabidae, Staphylinidae) in Central Europe are mainly mediated by changes in forest structure
- Lange, Markus, Türke, Manfred, Pašalić, Esther, Boch, Steffen, Hessenmöller, Dominik, Müller, Jörg, Prati, Daniel, Socher, Stephanie A., Fischer, Markus, Weisser, Wolfgang W., Gossner, Martin M.
- Forest ecology and management 2014 v.329 pp. 166-176
- Carabidae, Staphylinidae, arthropods, community structure, ecosystems, forest canopy, forest management, forest stands, forest types, habitats, insect communities, species diversity, trees, Central European region, Germany
- Forest management is known to influence species diversity of various taxa but inconsistent or even contrasting effects are reported for arthropods. Regional differences in management as well as differences in regional species pools might be responsible for these inconsistencies, but, inter-regional replicated studies that account for regional variability are rare. We investigated the effect of forest type on the abundance, diversity, community structure and composition of two important ground-dwelling beetle families, Carabidae and Staphylinidae, in 149 forest stands distributed over three regions in Germany. In particular we focused on recent forestry history, stand age and dominant tree species, in addition to a number of environmental descriptors. Overall management effects on beetle communities were small and mainly mediated by structural habitat parameters such as the cover of forest canopy or the plant diversity on forest stands. The general response of both beetle taxa to forest management was similar in all regions: abundance and species richness of beetles was higher in older than in younger stands and species richness was lower in unmanaged than in managed stands. The abundance ratio of forest species-to-open habitat species differed between regions, but generally increased from young to old stands, from coniferous to deciduous stands and from managed to unmanaged stands. The response of both beetle families to dominant tree species was variable among regions and staphylinid richness varied in the response to recent forestry history. Our results suggest that current forest management practices change the composition of ground-dwelling beetle communities mainly by favoring generalists and open habitat species. To protect important forest beetle communities and thus the ecosystem functions and services provided by them, we suggest to shelter remaining ancient forests and to develop near-to-nature management strategies by prolonging rotation periods and increasing structural diversity of managed forests. Possible geographic variations in the response of beetle communities need to be considered in conservation-orientated forest management strategies.