Canadian Forest Service Publications
Temporal dynamics in animal community assembly during post-logging succession in boreal forest. 2018. Le Borgne, H.; Hébert, C.; Dupuch, A.; Bichet, O.; Pinaud, D.; Fortin, D. PLoS ONE 13(9): e0204445.
Issued by: Laurentian Forestry Centre
Catalog ID: 39338
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Species assemblages can result from deterministic processes, such as niche differentiation and interspecific interactions, and from stochastic processes, such as random colonisation and extinction events. Although changes in animal communities following disturbances have been widely examined, few studies have investigated the mechanisms structuring communities during ecological succession. We assessed the impact of logging on small mammal and beetle assemblages in landscapes dominated by old-growth boreal forests. Our objectives were to 1) characterize variations in communities during the first 66 years of post-harvest forest succession, 2) determine if there are non-random patterns of species co-occurrence (i.e., deterministic processes), and if there are, 3) establish whether non-random co-occurrences are best explained by habitat attributes or by interspecific interactions. We captured small mammals and beetles along a gradient of forest succession (5-66 years) and in old-growth forest, and characterized key vegetation attributes. First, we tested whether community compositions in clear-cut stands became similar to those in natural stands after 66 years. We then used null models, which were either unconstrained or constrained by habitat attributes, to address the last two objectives and distinguish effects of vegetation attributes from interspecific interactions on community assembly. We showed that beetle assemblages differed in stands 21-30 years post-harvest compared to old-growth forests. In contrast, harvesting did not influence the composition of small mammal communities. Overall, our results suggest that community assembly during forest succession is driven by both stochastic and deterministic processes, the latter being linked to interspecific interactions more strongly than to vegetation attributes.