The effects of forestry on carabid beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) in boreal forests
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- Niemelä, J., Koivula, M. & Kotze, D.J. J Insect Conserv (2007) 11: 5. doi:10.1007/s10841-006-9014-0
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As compared to natural forests, managed boreal forests are younger, more homogeneous in terms of tree age and species composition, and consist of smaller fragments. Here we examine the effects of such characteristics caused by forestry on carabid beetles (Coleoptera, Carabidae) in the boreal region. The main results are the following. (1) Fragmentation of forests and the size of a fragment appear not to be crucial for the survival of the majority of forest carabids, as they tend to be distributed over various successional stages, but species requiring old-growth habitats suffer. (2) For carabids there appear to be no or very few edge specialist species, and forest-open land edges appear to be effective barriers for species associated with forest or open habitat. However, generalist species easily cross the edge, and edges of forest fragments may be invaded by species from the surrounding open habitat. (3) Habitat change following clear-cutting dramatically changes the composition of carabid assemblages: species restricted to mature forests disappear and open-habitat species invade, while habitat generalists survive at least in the short term. Carabid diversity can probably best be maintained if forest management mimics natural processes, maintains natural structures and includes the natural composition of vegetation and other structural elements (such as dead wood) within the stands, provided that these forest features can be maintained and recreated through forest management practices. At a larger scale, the whole spectrum of forest types and ages (especially old-growth forests), and different successional processes (especially fire) should be maintained. These require the development and use of innovative logging methods, and the planning, implementation, and assessment of landscape-scale ecological management strategies.