Impacts of clear-cut harvesting on carabid beetle (Coleoptera: Carabidae) assemblages of aspen dominated forests in central Alberta

  • Author / Creator
    La Rocca, Claudio A
  • Disturbances, both natural and those related to human activity, reset succession in boreal ecosystems, and affect forest biodiversity. The link between forest harvesting and biodiversity is of considerable conservation concern. In this thesis, I investigate the impacts of clear-cut harvesting on carabid beetle assemblages, dominant predators in ground dwelling communities, and explore alternative approaches to assess their recovery patterns along a regeneration chronosequence of aspen (Populus tremuloides) dominated forest stands in west central Alberta, Canada. Specifically, I show how forest age, or time since last harvest, can only partially characterize impacts on carabid assemblages, and how in addition of small scale habitat characteristics in statistical models can improve description of the recovery patterns. I also explore the use of alternative biodiversity indexes to assess the impacts of harvesting activities. I use indices that account for the functional complexity of carabid assemblages, and for the array of life traits expressed, specifically functional richness. My results show that, although time after harvest is important in explaining carabid beetle assemblage recovery, the use of small scale habitat variables increases the explanation for the effect of post-harvesting on recovery of carabid beetle assemblages. This improves our understanding of clear cut harvest impacts and post harvest regeneration for carabid beetle assemblages. In addition, measures of functional traits show a clear reduction in functional diversity in carabid beetles after clear-cut harvesting. Overall, this thesis provides new information about carabid assemblages in aspen dominated forests of the eastern slopes of the Rockies and develops wider approach for research on carabid beetle diversity in forests. I have also tried to highlight the potential usefulness of functional diversity in integrated biodiversity studies aimed at understanding the impact of forest harvest.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2016
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.