, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 287-300

Forest edge and diversity: carabids along forest-grassland transects

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Diversity relationships of carabids in forest edges and the neighbouring forest interior and the surrounding grassland are studied. Samples were taken along three replicated forest-grassland transects using pitfall traps in the Aggtelek National Park in Hungary during 2 years. The study revealed significant edge effect on the carabids. The Shannon diversity of carabids were significantly higher in the forest edge and the grassland than in the forest interior. Carabids of the forest interior, forest edge and grassland can be separated from each other by ordinations, both on the species composition and abundance, suggesting that all three habitats have a distinct species assemblage. Moreover, indicator species analysis detected significant edge associated species; based on the specificity and fidelity of the carabids we have distinguished five groups of species: habitat generalists, grassland-associated species, forest generalists, forest specialists, and edge-associated species. Multiple linear regression analyses showed that relative air moisture, temperature of the ground and cover of the herbs are the most important factors determining the diversity of carabids along the transects. Our results show that the high diversity of carabids in forest edges is due to the edge-associated species and the presence of species characteristic to the adjacent habitats. The significance of forest edges in nature conservation, serving as a source habitat for dispersal processes, contributing to the recolonization of carabids after habitat destruction or other disturbance is emphasized.