Winter-Active Spider Fauna is Affected by Plantation Forest Type

Environmental Entomology
Kapilkumar IngleRóbert Gallé

Abstract

Plantations of non-native trees for commercial use are common practice in Europe. They are known to have severe ecological impacts on arthropod fauna by altering microclimatic conditions and reducing microhabitat diversity. However, the effect of plantation tree species on winter-active fauna is relatively unknown. Spiders are a diverse predatory arthropod taxon with strong effect on their prey populations. The composition of spider communities sensitively indicates changes in habitat structure. We established 40 sampling sites in five non-native pine and five native poplar plantations and collected spiders with pitfall traps for two winters in the Southern part of Hungary. We assessed the average height of vegetation and percentage cover of leaf litter, mosses, herbaceous vegetation, and shrubs to characterize habitat structure. We found species richness and activity density of spiders in the non-native compared to the native plantations, presumably due to the more temperate microclimate in pine than in poplar plantations. However, there was no significant effect of habitat structure and its interaction with forest type on species richness and activity density of spiders. Species composition of non-native and native plantation...Continue Reading

Related Concepts

Metazoa
Western Europe
Hungary
Spiders
Trees (plant)
Niche, Ecological
Biodiversity
Forests
Arthropods
Genetic Pedigree

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