, Volume 177, Issue 2, pp 533–544 | Cite as

Biotic homogenization and differentiation of soil faunal communities in the production forest landscape: taxonomic and functional perspectives

  • Akira S. MoriEmail author
  • Aino T. Ota
  • Saori Fujii
  • Tatsuyuki Seino
  • Daisuke Kabeya
  • Toru Okamoto
  • Masamichi T. Ito
  • Nobuhiro Kaneko
  • Motohiro Hasegawa
Community ecology - Original research


Biotic homogenization has been reported worldwide. Although simplification of communities across space is often significant at larger scales, it could also occur at the local scale by changing biotic interactions. This study aimed to elucidate local community processes driving biotic homogenization of soil faunal communities, and the possibility of biotic re-differentiation. We recorded species of oribatid mites in litter and soil layers along a gradient of forest conversion from monoculture larch plantation to primary forests in central Japan. We collected data for functional traits of the recorded species to quantify functional diversity. Then we quantified their taxonomic/functional turnover. Litter diversity was reduced in the larch-dominated stands, leading to habitat homogenization. Consequently, litter communities were biologically homogenized and differentiated in the plantations and in the natural forest, respectively. Turnover of functional traits for litter communities was lower and higher than expected by chance in the plantations and in the natural stand, respectively. This result suggests that the dominant assembly process shifts from limiting similarity to habitat filtering along the forest restoration gradient. However, support for such niche-based explanations was not observed for communities in the soil layer. In the monocultures, functional diversity expected from a given regional species pool significantly decreased for litter communities but not for those in the soil layer. Such discrepancy between communities in different layers suggests that communities more exposed to anthropogenic stresses are more vulnerable to the loss of their functional roles. Our study explains possible community processes behind the observed patterns of biological organization, which can be potentially useful in guiding approaches for restoring biodiversity.


Forest restoration Null model Oribatid mites Soil arthropods Soil mesofauna 



The authors thank the staff of the Insect Ecology Laboratory and the Kiso Experimental Station at the Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute, and those at the Soil Ecology Laboratory of Yokohama National University, for their help and guidance in the research. Budgetary support was provided by a Grant-in-aid for Scientific Research of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in Japan (to M. H.) and from the Asahi Glass Foundation (to A. S. M.). We appreciate L. Ruess and the two reviewers for their constructive comments.

Supplementary material

442_2014_3111_MOESM1_ESM.docx (170 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 170 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Akira S. Mori
    • 1
    Email author
  • Aino T. Ota
    • 1
  • Saori Fujii
    • 1
  • Tatsuyuki Seino
    • 2
  • Daisuke Kabeya
    • 3
  • Toru Okamoto
    • 3
  • Masamichi T. Ito
    • 1
    • 4
  • Nobuhiro Kaneko
    • 1
  • Motohiro Hasegawa
    • 3
  1. 1.Graduate School of Environment and Information SciencesYokohama National UniversityYokohamaJapan
  2. 2.Faculty of Life and Environmental SciencesUniversity of TsukubaTsukubaJapan
  3. 3.Forestry and Forest Products Research InstituteTsukubaJapan
  4. 4.Faculty of Economics and ManagementSurugadai UniversityHannoJapan

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