Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 16, Issue 7, pp 2167–2184 | Cite as

Responses of ground-active beetle assemblages to different styles of reforestation on cleared rainforest land

  • Peter S. GrimbacherEmail author
  • Carla P. Catterall
  • John Kanowski
  • Heather C. Proctor
Original Paper


Despite increasing efforts to re-establish forest cover in landscapes that have been previously cleared, the relative ability of different styles of reforestation to contribute to conservation and support forest biota is poorly known, particularly for invertebrates. We investigated the use of different types of reforested habitat by ground-active rainforest beetle assemblages on land, which had been previously cleared of rainforest, in the tropics and subtropics of eastern Australia. Between five and ten replicate sites within each of five reforestation styles were selected in each region: un-managed regrowth, young mono-species timber plantations, young mixed-species timber plantations, ecological restoration plantings, and old mono-species timber plantations, together with reference sites in pasture and in intact rainforest. Ground-active beetles were sampled using pitfall traps, and assemblages were compared among site-types. In both regions, beetle assemblages in all styles of reforestation were intermediate in species composition between pasture and rainforest. The similarity of beetle assemblages to intact rainforest increased with the age and structural complexity of reforested sites. The most rainforest-like beetle assemblages were from older reforestation sites (38–70 year plantations in tropics, and 30–40 year regrowth in subtropics) and in younger (6–22 years) but floristically and structurally diverse ecological restoration plantings in both regions. Assemblages in younger (5–20 year) sites of regrowth, mono-species timber plantations, and mixed-species timber plantations were more similar to pasture than rainforest. We conclude that achieving high canopy cover and sufficient structural complexity are important factors associated with the restoration of rainforest-like beetle assemblages to reforested sites.


Coleoptera Colonisation Forest management Habitat complexity Invertebrate Plantation Restoration Stand age Structure Succession 



We acknowledge the numerous landowners for access to sites. Terry Reis provided valuable assistance with field sampling and contributed to the project design together with Grant Wardell-Johnson and Nigel Tucker. Scott Piper conducted the IndVal and landscape forest cover analyses. Peter Hallcoop, Brett Taylor, Richard Pidgeon, and John Holt all assisted with beetle sorting. Geoff Monteith confirmed the species-level identifications. Funding was provided by the Rainforest Cooperative Research Centre. Peter Grimbacher was supported by a Griffith University Postgraduate Research Scholarship.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter S. Grimbacher
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Carla P. Catterall
    • 1
  • John Kanowski
    • 1
  • Heather C. Proctor
    • 3
  1. 1.Rainforest Cooperative Research Centre, Australian School for Environmental StudiesGriffith UniversityNathanAustralia
  2. 2.School of Marine and Tropical BiologyJames Cook UniversityCairnsAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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