Canadian Forest Service Publications
Ground-dwelling arthropod response to fire and clearcutting in jack pine: implications for ecosystem management. 2017. Venier, L. A.; Work, T.T., Klimaszewski, J.; Morris, D.M.; Bowden, J.; Kwiaton, M.M.; Webster, K., Hazlett, P. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 47(12): 1614-1631.
Issued by: Great Lakes Forestry Centre
Catalog ID: 37786
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We tested the response of species composition of three dominant litter-dwelling arthropod taxa (carabid beetles, spiders, and rove beetles) to wildfire and harvest. This study was conducted in north-central Ontario (47°42=N, 83°36=W) in jack pine (Pinus banksiana Lamb.) dominated stands in 2013 using pitfall trapping. Using 222 species (12 015 individuals), we compared the effects of disturbance using recently burned (3 years since fire) and clearcut sites (3 years since harvest; tree length, full tree, stump removal, and blading), as well as older, closed-canopy stands that have regenerated following clearcutting (51 years since harvest) and fire (92 years since fire), with multivariate regression trees. Taxa were more similar in the three controls (including recent fire) than between controls and harvest treatments, with increased forest floor disturbance in harvested plots being a likely explanation. In addition, taxa were different in the younger (51 years) harvest-origin plots than in the older (92 years) fire-origin plots, suggesting that communities had not yet recovered from the harvest disturbance possibly due to insufficient coarse woody debris in the younger stand. These results indicate that forest management practices that match natural forest floor disturbance could ameliorate short-term effects, whereas the maintenance of more coarse woody debris could reduce the recovery time of epigaeic communities.
Plain Language Summary
Clearcutting and fire are dominant disturbances in jack-pine forests that differ greatly in terms of impacts on both residual standing overstory and forest soils. We tested how species composition of three dominant litter-dwelling arthropod taxa (carabid beetles, spiders, and rove beetles) responded to natural wildfire and a gradient of clearcutting treatments with increasingly intensive removal of residual forest biomass and soil disturbance. Using the resulting 222 species (12, 015 individuals), we compared both short- and longer-term effects of disturbance using recently burned (3 years post-fire) and clearcut sites (3-years post-harvest; tree-length, full-tree, stump removal and blading) as well as older, closed-canopy stands that have regenerated following clearcutting (51 years post-harvest) and fire (92 years post-fire), with multivariate regression trees. Species composition of both ground beetles and spiders differed among a recently burned, an older (51 yr-old), closed-canopy stand developing after clearcutting, a mature stand originating from fire and a recently clearcut site. Within the recently clearcut site, ground beetles differed among treatments with intensive removal of residual biomass (stumped and bladed treatment plots) but were similar between tree-length and full-tree treatments. Spiders were less affected by biomass removal and composition differed from other treatments only in the bladed treatment plots. Rove beetles were strongly associated with the mature (92 yr-old) forest that originated from fire and composition differed to a lesser extent between the recently clearcut site, recently burned site and the older, closed-canopy stand developing after clearcutting. Within recently clearcut sites, rove beetle composition differed only in bladed treatment plots. Our results suggest that clearcut harvesting in the short-term (3 years) has implications for ground-dwelling forest arthropod communities relative to fire disturbance and that forest floor disturbance should be considered more closely as a potential driver of change. In the longer-term (51 years), forest harvesting appears to continue to have an impact on these taxa with low volumes of coarse woody debris being a likely cause at this stage. These results indicate that provision of post-fire and mature fire origin stands are important for long-term habitat availability. Furthermore, alternative forest management practices that match natural forest floor disturbance could ameliorate short-term effects whereas the maintenance of more coarse woody debris could reduce the recovery time of epigaeic communities.