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The effects of vegetation types and microhabitats on carabid beetle community composition in cool temperate Japan

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Ecological Research


The effects of vegetation types and environmental factors on carabid beetle (Coleoptera: Carabidae) communities were studied. Carabid beetles were collected using pitfall traps (total 2844 trapping days) and seven microenvironmental factors were measured in four vegetation types: grassland, natural evergreen coniferous forest (Pinus densiflora), deciduous broad-leaved natural forest (Quercus crispula, Betula platyphylla, Alnus japonica, or Fagus crenata), and deciduous coniferous plantation (Larix kaempferi) in cool temperate Japan. These four vegetation types provided a novel comparison between natural forests and plantations because the vast majority of related studies have investigated only deciduous broad-leaved natural forests and evergreen coniferous plantations. PERMANOVA indicated that vegetation types affected carabid community composition. Ordination plots showed that community composition differed greatly between grassland and forest vegetation types, but that community composition in the plantation forest overlapped with that of natural forest types. Characteristics differentiating the grassland included a high proportion of winged species and a low mean carabid body weight. Among the examined environmental factors, litter depth, soil water content, and depth of the soil A-horizon had large effects on carabid communities. These results suggest that the effect of afforestation on carabid communities in cool temperate Japan might be insignificant compared with the effects of cover types (deciduous vs. evergreen) and microenvironmental factors.

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We are grateful to Dr. M. Murakami for his valuable comments and suggestions regarding the study design. Dr. S. Niwa, Ms. K. Ono, and Ms. H. Asano from the Tomakomai Experimental Forest provided useful guidelines for the identification of carabid beetles. Mr. N. Ito kindly checked the carabid identification and provided information on the flight ability of carabid species. We also thank Mr. R. Kanai, Mr. S. Shimizu, Dr. Y. Degawa, and Ms. H. Yamanaka from Sugadaira Montane Research Center for their participation in fieldwork.

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Correspondence to Takahiro Ogai.

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Ogai, T., Kenta, T. The effects of vegetation types and microhabitats on carabid beetle community composition in cool temperate Japan. Ecol Res 31, 177–188 (2016).

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