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Exploring the last biotic frontier: are temperate forest canopies special for saproxylic beetles?

Abstract : Conserving saproxylic beetles in temperate forests will require a better understanding of habitat requirements. So far, quantitative community studies have rarely considered their vertical requirements. In comparison with the tropical forest canopy, it remains to be seen whether a comparably high level of beetle diversity exists in the temperate forest canopy. We compared saproxylic beetle assemblages at two vertical levels in three temperate French forests. Two datasets originated from emergence traps of pine and oak deadwood substrates (mid-canopy and forest floor branches) in lowland forests. The third compared flying beetle fauna at mid-canopy and understory levels using pairs of flight interception traps in beech-fir mountain forests. Our study provided contrasting results regarding the contribution of each stratum to biodiversity. Whereas higher abundance and species richness were apparent in understory samples in beech-fir stands and in oak branches, no difference for richness - or even the opposite pattern for abundance - was observed in pine branches. A significant inter-strata dissimilarity was revealed in all datasets. Each stratum harbored specialist taxa. Exclusive canopy species accounted for 20 to 40% of all species. In accordance with dissimilarity partitioning, arboreal saproxylic beetle communities were not just nested subsets of ground assemblages. It is likely that microhabitat requirements, food availability and other non-resource-based factors (microclimate preference, species interactions) drive the stratification of beetle assemblages. Our results lend support (i) to the recommendation of a multi-strata sampling strategy for forest insects, and (ii) to management practices in favour of valuable canopy micro-habitats.
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Submitted on : Friday, May 15, 2020 - 5:37:46 PM
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Christophe Bouget, Antoine Brin, Hervé Brustel. Exploring the last biotic frontier: are temperate forest canopies special for saproxylic beetles?. Forest Ecology and Management, Elsevier, 2011, 261 (2), pp.211-220. ⟨10.1016/j.foreco.2010.10.007⟩. ⟨hal-02593786⟩



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