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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2006

Recovery of forest soil fauna diversity and composition after repeated summer droughts

Lindberg N, Bengtsson J


To examine the resilience of soil animal communities to large-scale disturbances. we studied the recovery of total abundance, diversity and community composition of forest soil mesofauna after a 6-year climatic disturbance. This was done in a pre-established experiment in a Norway spruce Picea abies stand in southern Sweden in which long-term summer droughts had been experimentally imposed and had caused large changes in soil fauna communities. We included both predators (mesostigmatid mites) and fungivores/detritivores (oribatid mites, collembolans) in the study because of the likelihood that they would differ in recovery ability due to differences in their feeding habits, dispersal ability and reproductive strategies. Total abundances of Collembola, Oribatida and Mesostigmata were similar in recovery and control plots after three years, but species richness, the Shannon-Wiener diversity index, and community composition recovered more slowly, particularly among the Oribatida. To only use total abundance of higher taxonomic groups was thus not sufficient when measuring community recovery. There was a tendency for more mobile groups to recover faster than the slow-moving oribatids, indicating the importance of dispersal ability for the resilience of soil communities

Published in

2006, Volume: 114, number: 3, pages: 494-506

    SLU Authors

    • Lindberg, Niklas

      • Department of Entomology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
      • Bengtsson, Jan

        • Department of Entomology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

      UKÄ Subject classification

      Forest Science
      Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

      Publication Identifiers


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