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Relevance of exotic pine plantations as a surrogate habitat for ground beetles (Carabidae) where native forest is rare

  • Lisa A. BerndtEmail author
  • Eckehard G. Brockerhoff
  • Hervé Jactel
Part of the Topics in Biodiversity and Conservation book series (TOBC, volume 9)

Abstract

Plantation forests are of increasing importance worldwide for wood and fibre production, and in some areas they are the only forest cover. Here we investigate the potential role of exotic plantations in supporting native forest-dwelling carabid beetles in regions that have experienced extensive deforestation. On the Canterbury Plains of New Zealand, more than 99% of the previous native forest cover has been lost, and today exotic pine (Pinus radiata) plantations are the only forest habitat of substantial area. Carabids were caught with pitfall traps in native kanuka (Kunzea ericoides) forest remnants and in a neighbouring pine plantation, grassland and gorse (Ulex europaeus) shrubland. A total of 2,700 individuals were caught, with significantly greater abundance in traps in young pine, grassland and gorse habitats than in kanuka and older pine. Rarefied species richness was greatest in kanuka, a habitat that supported two forest specialist species not present in other habitat types. A critically endangered species was found only in the exotic plantation forest, which also acts as a surrogate habitat for most carabids associated with kanuka forest. The few remaining native forest patches are of critical importance to conservation on the Canterbury Plains, but in the absence of larger native forest areas plantation forests are more valuable for carabid conservation than the exotic grassland that dominates the region.

Keywords

Biodiversity Carabidae Exotic species Habitat fragmentation Habitat loss Threatened species 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lisa A. Berndt
    • 1
    Email author
  • Eckehard G. Brockerhoff
    • 2
  • Hervé Jactel
    1. 1.ScionRotoruaNew Zealand
    2. 2.ScionChristchurchNew Zealand

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