, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 165-176
Date: 02 May 2011

Community assembly of Diptera following restoration of mined boreal bogs: taxonomic and functional diversity

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Abstract

Peat mining causes major degradation to bogs and natural regeneration of these sites is slow and often incomplete. Thus, restoration is an important tool for re-establishing natural ecosystem properties (although perhaps not the original species pool) in mined bogs. Because faunal recovery cannot be taken for granted following plant restoration, we assessed community assembly of higher flies (Diptera: Brachycera) in previously mined bogs 7 years after restoration. Species assemblages in restored sites were compared to those in nearby natural and abandoned mined sites. The three treatment types did not differ significantly in overall species composition, suggesting high resilience to disturbance. However, species richness and evenness were generally lower in abandoned sites than restored and natural sites, which had similar abundance distributions, indicating that restoration enhanced recovery of species diversity and community structure. Functional traits (trophic group, body size) provided a different insight into the status of restored sites. Trophic and small size-class (<5 mm) composition in restored sites were similar to those in abandoned sites. However, high species richness estimates indicated that predators and saprophages successfully colonized restored sites. Species assemblages were mostly affected by coverage of bare peat, Sphagnum mosses and ericaceous shrubs; trophic assemblages were affected by variables directly linked to feeding habits. Our results suggest that active restoration is needed for the renewal of high species and trophic diversity, although it is clear from environmental conditions and functional traits that the restored sites are not yet fully functioning peatlands 7 years after restoration.