Canadian Forest Service Publications

Variable retention harvest of white spruce stands and saproxylic beetle assemblages. 2007. Jacobs, J.; Spence, J.R.; Langor, D.W. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 37(9): 1631-1642.

Year: 2007

Issued by: Northern Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 27512

Language: English

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Dead wood dependent (saproxylic) insects have been identified as vulnerable to the effects of modern forestry practices. We examined the effects of variable retention harvesting on saproxylic beetle assemblages. Variable retention of living green trees seeks to leave more forest structure on the landscape with the goal of maintaining ecosystem function and biodiversity. Ninety flight-intercept traps were divided between recently dead natural snags and snags killed by girdling in three replicated forest stands with 10%, 20%, 50%, and 75% residual structure and in uncut control stands. Beetles were collected and identified during the second and third summers post harvest and grouped for analyses as (i) wood- and bark-borers, (ii) fungivores, and (iii) predators. Harvesting intensity explained a relatively small amount of the variability in the beetle assemblages. However, all groups responded strongly to coarse woody debris variables and especially to snag decay class during the third postharvest summer, suggesting that factors associated with coarse woody debris quality and quantity determine the initial responses and successional trajectories of saproxylic beetle assemblages. The main effects of variable retention on saproxylic assemblages are expected to be mediated through differences in amount of coarse woody debris expected to materialize with the death and decay of green trees left as residual elements.