Forest management conditioning ground ant community structure and composition in temperate conifer forests in the Pyrenees Mountains

Arnan X., Gracia M., Comas L., Retana J. (2009) Forest management conditioning ground ant community structure and composition in temperate conifer forests in the Pyrenees Mountains. Forest Ecology and Management. 258: 51-59.
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Doi: 10.1016/j.foreco.2009.03.029

Resum:

The search for indicators to monitor management impact on biodiversity is a crucial question because management practices promote changes in community structure and composition of different animal groups. This study explores the effect of widely conducted management practices (forest logging and livestock) in Pinus uncinata forests in the Pyrenees range (NE Spain) on the structure and composition of ground ant communities compared to those of old-growth stands. Forest structure clearly differed in stands with different forest managements. These stands managed for different uses also showed marked differences in structure and composition of ground ant communities. There was a great dominance of a single species, Formica lugubris, which accounted for 99% of ants collected in pitfall traps. Rarefaction curves indicated that species richness was highest in old-growth stands and lowest in even-aged ones, with woodland pasture stands showing an intermediate value. Classification methods allowed us to identify two groups of species: six species related to old-growth plots and three species (including F. lugubris) associated to managed stands. Habitat structure played an important role in determining the structure of ant communities: forests with high tree density but low basal area were the most favourable forest type for F. lugubris, while the abundance of the remaining ant species was negatively affected by the abundance of F. lugubris and by tree cover. © 2009.

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