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Diameter of downed woody debris does matter for saproxylic beetle assemblages in temperate oak and pine forests

Abstract : Deadwood is widely recognized to be an important issue for biodiversity conservation in forest ecosystems. Establishing guidelines for its management requires a better understanding of relationships between woody debris characteristics and associated species assemblages. Although deadwood diameter has been identified as an important factor predicting occurrence of many species, the boundary between small and large diameter has not yet been precisely defined. In commercial forests, it is of critical importance to know which diameter is large enough to host the most sensitive beetle species to ensure the cost-effectiveness of biodiversity conservation measures. We investigated the differences in saproxylic beetle assemblages among four different diameter classes of downed woody oak and maritime pine debris, in France. Beetles were sampled using in situ emergence traps. The diameter of deadwood pieces ranged from 1 to 40 cm. No patterns of nestedness associated with the gradient of diameter size was identified for either tree species. More indicator saproxylic species were observed in large logs and branches than in small logs. A clear distinction appeared in assemblage composition around the 5-cm diameter threshold whereas no similar pattern occurred around the 10 cm value, i.e. the classical threshold used in forestry to distinguish fine woody debris from coarse woody debris. For both tree species, the mean body length of beetles increased with the diameter size of deadwood suggesting that the quantity of available resources per piece may constitute a limiting factor for large beetle species. This study confirms that not only large deadwood pieces are relevant for saproxylic biodiversity conservation but also the smallest diameter pieces. Therefore, forest managers would be well advised to maintain a high diversity of deadwoods to improve saproxylic biodiversity.
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Submitted on : Friday, May 15, 2020 - 5:40:31 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, February 16, 2021 - 12:08:21 PM

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Antoine Brin, Christophe Bouget, Hervé Brustel, Hervé Jactel. Diameter of downed woody debris does matter for saproxylic beetle assemblages in temperate oak and pine forests. Journal of Insect Conservation, Springer Verlag, 2011, 15 (5), pp.653-669. ⟨10.1007/s10841-010-9364-5⟩. ⟨hal-02593822⟩

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