Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 27, Issue 9, pp 2155–2172 | Cite as

Effects of ecological restoration on beetle assemblages: results from a large-scale experiment in a Mediterranean steppe rangeland

  • Jean-François AlignanEmail author
  • Jean-François Debras
  • Renaud Jaunatre
  • Thierry Dutoit
Original Paper


Given that biological conservation cannot prevent the full range of negative impacts on biodiversity, ecological restoration is nowadays commonly acknowledged as a necessary tool for conservation purposes. Here, we report on an ecological rehabilitation project in the La Crau area (south-eastern France), beginning in 2009 when a former industrial orchard (357 ha) was rehabilitated into a Mediterranean rangeland. We assessed the effect of ecological rehabilitation and different additional restoration treatments on beetle assemblages. Seven treatments were considered: the reference steppe, the rehabilitated treatment alone, three additional experimental restoration treatments (soil transfer; nurse species seeding and hay transfer), the control and the edge between the steppe and the former industrial orchard area. All beetle families were considered. Beetles were sampled with pitfall traps for 3 years (2011–2013). Our major finding was a positive effect of soil transfer and nurse species seeding treatments, which promote the characteristic beetle composition of the reference steppe. Nevertheless, strong differences remain between the steppe and the various assessed treatments in terms of composition. Long-term monitoring should therefore now focus on particular beetle indicator species that could reflect the response of the overall characteristic beetle assemblage of the reference steppe.


Coleoptera Dry grassland Hay transfer Nurse species seeding Rehabilitation Soil transfer 



We are grateful to Caisse des Dépôts et Consignation Biodiversité, Région Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, the Réserve Naturelle des Coussous de Crau and Domaine Bayard for supporting this study. We are also grateful to Pierre Alignan, Romain Angeleri, Sylvain Bernard, Adeline Bizart, Elise Buisson, Adeline Bulot, Diane Cattenoz, Clémentine Coiffait-Gombault, Capucine Fournier, Pablo Gazon, Marie-Charlotte Gicquiaux, Benjamin Gutjahr, Laurent Hardion, Claire Lafon, Julien Larivière, Laure Malagnoux, Solène Masson, Christophe Mazzia, Isabelle Muller, Myriam Siegwart and Julie Tanet for help with field or laboratory work. We also thank Sylvain Fadda and Philippe Ponel for help with beetle identifications and Marjorie Sweetko for English language revision. Comments from anonymous reviewers and editorial staff substantially improved the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10531_2018_1528_MOESM1_ESM.docx (64 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 64 kb)
10531_2018_1528_MOESM2_ESM.docx (64 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 65 kb)


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut Méditerranéen de Biodiversité et d’Ecologie (IMBE), UMR CNRS IRD Aix Marseille Université, IUT site AgroparcAvignon UniversitéAvignon Cedex 09France
  2. 2.Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA)Avignon Cedex 9France
  3. 3.Université Grenoble Alpes, Irstea, UR EMGRSt-Martin-d’HèresFrance

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