Response of Orthoptera communities to succession in alluvial pine woodlands
Blaeser, Tim Peter
|ACRIDIDAE; ALPS; ASSEMBLAGES; Biodiversity & Conservation; Biodiversity Conservation; Disturbance ecology; Entomology; Floodplain; FOREST; Forest management; Grasshopper; Vegetation structure
|JOURNAL OF INSECT CONSERVATION
During the past 150 years forest management has dramatically altered in Central European woodlands, with severe consequences for biodiversity. Light forests that fulfilled variable human demands were replaced by dark high forests that function solely as wood plantations. In the Alps, by contrast, open woodlands are still present because the traditional land use as wood pasture has remained and physiographical conditions favour natural dynamics. The aim of our study was to investigate the effects of succession on the Orthoptera communities of alluvial pine woodlands in the northern Alps. Orthoptera showed a clear response to succession, with each successional stage harbouring a unique assemblage. The influence of succession on species richness and abundance were identical: The values were highest in the intermediate and lowest in the late seral stage. The diversity and abundance peak in the mid-successional stage probably reflects a trade-off between favourable ambient temperatures for optimal development and sufficient food, oviposition sites and shelter against predators. Food shortage and easy access for predators seemed to be limiting factors in the early successional stage. In contrast, in the late successional stage adverse microclimatic conditions probably limit Orthoptera occurrence. Although all three successional stages of the pine woodlands are relevant for conservation, the early and mid-successional stages are the most important ones. Conservation management for Orthoptera in this woodland type should aim at the reintroduction of cattle grazing and the restoration of the natural discharge and bedload-transport regimes of the alpine rivers.
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checked on Feb 28, 2024