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Research article2007Peer reviewed

The importance of substrate type, shading and scorching for the attractiveness of dead wood to saproxylic beetles

Hjalten J, Johansson T, Alinvi O, Danell K, Ball JP, Pettersson R, Gibb H, Hilszczanski J


Modern forestry management has reduced the amount of dead wood in forest ecosystems and this has become a serious threat to flora and fauna. Efforts are therefore being made to reverse this trend but one problem is that we still tack detailed knowledge regarding the substrate requirements of many saproxylic species. In a field experiment, conducted in three forest types (forest reserve, mature managed forest and clear-cut), we evaluated the value, from a conservation perspective, of different substrate types (logs, snags and tops) of Norway Spruce, Picea abies, and if the quality of spruce Logs as saproxylic habitats can be improved by simple log treatments (scorching and shading). We collected 9982 individuals representing 262 saproxylic beetle species in window traps. Both substrate type and, to a lesser extent, log treatment had a significant effect on the abundance and species richness of saproxylic beetles attracted to the different dead wood substrates. However, more importantly, the composition of the beetle assemblages differed significantly between both substrates and log treatments. Snags, logs and tops all attracted significantly different beetle assemblages and scorched togs differed from untreated control togs. Sixteen red listed species were trapped, with the highest number (11 species) being found on scorched togs. We found strong evidence that some species preferred a specific substrate type, mainly togs, in some cases treated togs (scorched or shaded), but not snags, the substrate commonly provided for conservation purposes on e.g. clear-cuts. This stresses the importance of conducting forestry in such a way that a multitude of both forest habitats and dead wood substrates are available continuously in the forest landscape to maintain biodiversity. (C) 2006 Gesellschaft fur Okologie. Published by Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved

Published in

Basic and Applied Ecology
2007, Volume: 8, number: 4, pages: 364-376