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You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications / The effects of forest patch size and matrix type on changes in carabid beetle assemblages in an urbanized landscape

E. Gaublomme, F. Hendrickx, H. Dhuyvetter and K. Desender (2008)

The effects of forest patch size and matrix type on changes in carabid beetle assemblages in an urbanized landscape

Biological Conservation, 141(10):2585-2596.

In this study we compared ground beetles (Carabidae) from a range of different forest fragments along an urbanization gradient in Brussels, Belgium. We address the following questions: (i) How does the degree of urbanization in the surrounding habitat affect forest beetles, and does it interact with the effects of patch size and distance to forest edge? (ii) Do these factors have a different effect at the level of individual species, habitat affinity groups or total community? During 2002 we sampled 13 forest plots in 10 forest patches, ranging in size from 5.27 to 4383 ha. The beetles were captured using transects of pitfall traps from the edge to a distance of 100 m into each woodland and identified to species level. Effects of urbanization, forest size and forest edge were evaluated on total species number, abundance and habitat affinity groups and ten abundant, widespread model carabid species. Overall, the effects of urbanization, forest size and edge effects slightly influenced total species richness and abundance but appeared to have a major effect on ground beetle assemblages through species specific responses. More urbanized sites had significantly fewer forest specialists and more generalist species. Large forest fragments were favoured by forest specialist species while generalist species and species frequently associated with forest (forest generalists) dominated the smaller forests. Forest edges mainly harboured generalist species while forest specialist species were more frequent into the forests if the forest patches were large enough, otherwise they disappeared due to the destruction or impoverishment of their habitat. Our results show the importance of differentiating between habitat affinity, especially habitat generalists versus specialists, the latter having a higher value in nature conservation, and merely the quantity of species represented in human-dominated areas. (c) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Gaublomme, Eva Hendrickx, Frederik Dhuyvetter, Hilde Desender, Konjev

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