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Research article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

Specialist carabids in mixed montane forests are positively associated with biodiversity-oriented forestry and abundance of roe deer

Pereira, Joao M. Cordeiro; Schwegmann, Sebastian; Estaje, Claudia Masso; Denter, Martin; Mikusinski, Grzegorz; Storch, Ilse


The ongoing transition within forest management towards more biodiversity-oriented practices, such as close-to-nature forestry and retention forestry, may benefit forest fauna such as forestspecialized ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae). However, it remains unclear how forest carabids are jointly affected by these practices in Central European montane forests, which host particularly sensitive, range-restricted carabid species, and where biodiversity-oriented forestry is widely applied. Moreover, roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), the most common large herbivore in these forests, is intensively managed to reduce browsing pressure, but it is yet unknown how this may affect carabids, alongside the effect of silviculture. On 66 1-ha plots in the Black Forest region of Germany, we sampled carabids with pitfall traps, measured roe deer abundances using camera trapping, and measured several structural variables directly related to close-to-nature and retention practices, as well as variables describing microclimate and landscape-level forest cover. We found that the carabid assemblage was dominated by forest specialists, with little influence from fragmentation of the surrounding forest. Higher broadleaf share (and canopy cover for montane specialists) was correlated with higher carabid activity-density. Increasing stand maturity (and lying deadwood volume for montane specialists), was correlated with higher species richness. Plots with higher roe deer abundances showed higher carabid richness and activity-density. Assemblage composition changed along the altitudinal gradient, and both richness and activity-density increased with elevation. Thus, carabid communities, including montane specialists and several species of conservation interest, stand to benefit from close-tonature and retention practices, if applied throughout the altitude range of montane forests. Forest carabids may additionally profit from maintaining higher roe deer abundances, but further research is needed to understand this causal link, as well as to weigh the costs and benefits of deer culling for forest biodiversity.


Ground beetles; Ungulates; Sustainable forest management; Multi -purpose forestry; Central Europe

Published in

Global Ecology and Conservation
2024, Volume: 50, article number: e02821Publisher: ELSEVIER

    Associated SLU-program

    SLU Forest Damage Center

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Forest Science

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