Effects of clear-cutting and wildfires on succession of ground beetle (Coleoptera: Carabidae) assemblages in western Alberta

  • Author / Creator
    Del Bel Belluz, Vincent
  • I studied how carabid beetle assemblages in lodgepole pine stands have responded after clear- cut harvest and wildfires on an actively managed landscape ~20 km south of Hinton, Alberta. This work builds on and expands the focus of a previous study (Niemelä et al. 1993) conducted 23-24 years earlier in many of the same stands sampled in the current study. I compared carabid species assemblages along a chronosequence of stands ranging in age from 12 to 53 years after clear-cutting. Recovery of carabid assemblages toward preharvest structure in regenerating stands as reflected in the 2013-14 data appears to have been more rapid than in equivalently aged stands from the earlier study. In addition, species assemblages differed significantly between clear-cut and burned stands of comparable age in 2013-14. Specifically, carabid assemblages of younger burned stands show closer resemblance to assemblages in mature stands than harvested stands. This may indicate that recovery occurs faster in burned stands or that more old-growth species persist through burning compared to harvesting. Ground vegetation, mineral soil cover and basal area of trees and shrubs were significantly correlated with structure of carabid species assemblages in young and old regenerating stands after disturbance types, suggesting that environmental differences along plant successional gradients drive patterns in carabid assemblages. Furthermore, assemblage differences between older burned and clear-cut stands indicate that the type of disturbance influences long-term carabid recovery. Relationships between these findings and issues related to conservation of biodiversity and climate change are discussed.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2019
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
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