Journal of Insect Conservation

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 367–375

Ants on oaks: effects of forest structure on species composition

  • Matthias Dolek
  • Anja Freese-Hager
  • Heinz Bussler
  • Andreas Floren
  • Alois Liegl
  • Jürgen Schmidl
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10841-008-9181-2

Cite this article as:
Dolek, M., Freese-Hager, A., Bussler, H. et al. J Insect Conserv (2009) 13: 367. doi:10.1007/s10841-008-9181-2

Abstract

The ant fauna of oak forest canopies in Northern Bavaria was studied by canopy fogging on 45 trees in August 2000 and May 2001. The study focused on a comparison of several different forestry management practices resulting in several types of canopy cover. Forests surveyed were: (1) high forest (high canopy cover), (2) coppice with standards (low canopy cover), (3) forest pasture with mostly solitary trees (very low canopy cover) and (4) transitional forest from former coppice with standards to high forest (approaching high canopy cover). This comprised a full gradient of canopy coverage. On the 45 oak trees sampled, a total of 17 ant species were found. Species composition was dependent on the different forestry management practices. The total number of species and the number of species listed in the Red Data Books of both Germany and Bavaria were much higher in the forest pasture and the coppice with standards, as compared to the high forest. The transitional forest was at an intermediate level. The highest number of ant species was found in the forest pasture. This can be explained by the occurrence of species of open habitats and thermophilous species. In the coppice with standards, forest dwelling and arboricolous species dominated, whereas the high forest showed much lower frequencies of arboricolous species like Temnothorax corticalis, Dolichoderus quadripunctatus and Temnothorax affinis. A multivariate analysis revealed that canopy cover (measured as “shade”, in percentage intervals of canopy cover) was the best parameter for explaining species distribution and dataset variation, and to a lesser extent the amount of dead wood, canopy and trunk diameter. Thus ant fauna composition was mostly driven by structural differences associated to the different forestry management practices. Many ant species clearly preferred the more open and light forest stands of the coppice with standards as compared to the dense and shady high forest.

Key words

Ants Conservation Coppice with standards Forest canopy Temperate forest 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthias Dolek
    • 1
  • Anja Freese-Hager
    • 1
  • Heinz Bussler
    • 2
  • Andreas Floren
    • 3
  • Alois Liegl
    • 4
    • 5
  • Jürgen Schmidl
    • 6
  1. 1.Büro für ökologische Forschung und Planung, Geyer und DolekBindlachGermany
  2. 2.FeuchtwangenGermany
  3. 3.Departments of Animal Ecology and Tropical BiologyUniversity of WürzburgWürzburgGermany
  4. 4.Bayerisches Landesamt für UmweltAugsburgGermany
  5. 5.Regierung von SchwabenAugsburgGermany
  6. 6.Ecology, Landscape & Nature Conservation group, Department for Biology/Developmental Biology InstituteUniversity of Erlangen-NurembergErlangenGermany

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