, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 1-18

Dead trees left in clear-cuts benefit saproxylic Coleoptera adapted to natural disturbances in boreal forest

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Forest management alters the pattern of forest dynamics from that in natural conditions in the boreal region. In order to examine how certain forestry measures matching natural dynamics affect forest insects, we compared assemblages of saproxylic Coleoptera on dead, standing birch trunks left behind in eight clear-cut areas with corresponding assemblages in seven mature forests in southern and eastern Finland. We used trunk-window traps for sampling. Distinct beetle assemblages were associated with the different habitats. Median numbers of species or specimens caught did not differ between closed forests and clear-cuts, but individual beetle species occurred unevenly among the habitats. Several beetle species associated with open forest habitat, e.g. burned forests or storm-damage areas, including species regarded as threatened in Finland, were found almost exclusively, in clear-cuts. Correspondingly, a number of beetle species occurring frequently in closed forests were not found in clear-cuts. We conclude that dead trunks left in the clear-cut areas may host not only generalist saproxylic species but also many beetle species specialized to warm, sun-exposed environments, and such species may not be able to survive in closed forests. Management measures matching suppressed natural disturbances are found useful in preserving diversity in managed forests.