Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 24, Issue 10, pp 2399–2415 | Cite as

Dwarf pine: invasive plant threatens biodiversity of alpine beetles

  • J. Kašák
  • M. Mazalová
  • J. Šipoš
  • T. Kuras
Original Paper


Despite their small extent, alpine ecosystems belong to the most valuable, yet highly threatened natural biotopes worldwide. Alpine habitats are endangered particularly by anthropogenic influences and climate change as well as invasions of non-native plants. Although plant invasions are regarded as one of the most serious threats to biodiversity globally, the knowledge of their impact on the arthropod assemblages of alpine environments is virtually absent. Therefore, we studied the effects of the non-native dwarf pine Pinus mugo on a model group of carabid beetles in the alpine zone of the Hrubý Jeseník Mts., Czech Republic. We evaluated the effects of age, cover and distance from dwarf pine stands on the community structure and the functional diversity of the Carabidae. The majority of the species significantly declined in abundance with increasing age and cover of dwarf pine stands. Species surviving there were typically food generalists associated with the forest environment. In contrast, carabids with high conservation value bound to open habitats (e.g., Amara erratica and Carabus sylvestris) decreased in dwarf pine areas as well as food specialists (e.g., Cychrus caraboides) and large forest species in the genus Carabus. The decline in abundance of carnivorous species may be a consequence of the similar decline in herbivores dependent on the native vegetation. Concurring with this interpretation, abundance of many herbivorous species (e.g. Amara spp.) decreased within pine stands. The negative effect of dwarf pine stands on the community structure of montane carabids was also apparent in changes of functional diversity. Age and cover of dwarf pine significantly decreased functional richness and divergence of carabid trophic groups. Considering the small area of alpine tundra in the Central European mountain ranges, the expansive dwarf pine represents a serious threat to this unique montane biodiversity. Therefore we recommend the immediate reduction or removal of non-native dwarf pine stands.


Alpine ecosystems Carabidae Coleoptera Functional diversity Hrubý Jeseník Mts. Pinus mugo 



We are very grateful to P. Saska and J. Stanovský for the important supplement of beetle characteristics. S. Kopečková and L. Kolář substantially helped us in the field, or to be more precise, in the mountains. We are also grateful to M. Horsák and A. Lacina for giving us useful advice and to P. Pachta for the map creation. Our study would not have been possible without the permission of the Administration of Protected Landscape Area Jeseníky. The research project was funded by the Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic (VaV/620/15/03, VaV/SM/6/70/05) and CzechGlobe—Centre for Global Climate Change Impacts Studies (CZ.1.05/1.1.00/02.0073, LC06073). We would like to thank A. Gouveia for proof-reading the manuscript. Last but not least we thank the associate editor (E. Brockerhoff) and two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions that improved the manuscript.

Supplementary material

10531_2015_929_MOESM1_ESM.docx (29 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 29 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Kašák
    • 1
    • 2
  • M. Mazalová
    • 3
  • J. Šipoš
    • 4
  • T. Kuras
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Zoology, Faculty of SciencePalacký University in OlomoucOlomoucCzech Republic
  2. 2.Department of Forest Protection and Wildlife Management, Faculty of Forestry and Wood TechnologyMendel University in BrnoBrnoCzech Republic
  3. 3.Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of SciencePalacký University in OlomoucOlomouc, HoliceCzech Republic
  4. 4.Department of Biology and Ecology, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of OstravaOstravaCzech Republic

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