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Influence of Traditional Management and Environmental Variables on Mediterranean Saproxylic Beetle A

P. Ramilo, A. P. Martínez-Falcón, A. García-López, H. Brustel, E. Galante, E. Micó, Environmental Entomology, 46(6), 2017, 1235–1242

Mediterranean oak forests of the Iberian Peninsula host a great diversity of saproxylic beetles. For centuries, humans have carried out traditional management practices in this area, at both habitat and tree level, causing changes in forest structure. The aim of this study was to evaluate the anthropic effect of these traditional practices on saproxylic beetle diversity by measuring a set of environmental variables related to forest structure at both plot and tree level. Fauna was collected using window traps over a period of 12 mo. Multiple regression procedures showed which variables significantly affected the diversity of the studied assemblage. Our results demonstrated that the different metrics used to assess the diversity of assemblages responded variably depending on the management strategies applied and the level at which they were carried out. Certain management practices that disrupted the landscape from its natural state, such as the introduction of livestock or the local removal of particular trees, maximized species richness but, nevertheless, had a negative effect on the rest of diversity metrics analyzed. However, other practices such as pollarding, which involves the suppression of the main branch of the tree, had a positive effect on all diversity metrics evaluated as it promoted the formation of potential microhabitats for saproxylic fauna. We concluded that not all types and degrees of traditional forest management favor saproxylic beetle diversity and that different diversity metrics should be taken into consideration in future strategies for the protection and conservation of this fauna.

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