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K Desender, A Ervynck, and G Tack (1999)

Beetle diversity and historical ecology of woodlands in Flanders


Extensive data on the present-day carabid beetle fauna occurring in woods of Flanders were compared with a unique data-set of archaeological carabid remains from a Late and Post-Roman forest at Velzeke (Eastern Flanders), within the framework of a study on the historical ecology of woodlands in Flanders. Integration of these data on 14 woods revealed that most have been significantly impoverished with respect to their stenotopic woodland beetle fauna. The carabid species' diversity is higher in several small and relatively recent woodlands compared to that in larger ancient forests, regardless of whether this diversity is evaluated by rarefaction or by mean species richness per standardised year sample data. This pattern is primarily caused by the presence, in forest fragments , of many species from surrounding open habitats. Typical woodland beetles show a reduced dispersal power (constant brachyptery) and appear to be strongly linked to larger ancient woods. Knowledge of historical ecological factors, other than actual size of the forests, further aids the explanation of the observed ground beetle assemblages in the specific forests or sites. Preliminary results of population genetics, for the eurytopic forest carabid beetle Abax ater showed significant genetic differentiation between populations (due to reduced gene flow) at a relatively large spatial scale, although genetic erosion cannot (yet?) be observed for this species.

woodland; biodiversity; historical ecology; deforestation events; woodland area; wood exploitation; archaeology; habitat fragmentation; ground beetles (Carabidae); ancient woodland; indicators; dispersal power; population genetics; Abax ater; region of Flanders
5th Benelux Congress of Zoology, GHENT, BELGIUM, NOV 06-07, 1998
  • ISSN: 0777-6276

ISSN 2295-0451 (online version)
ISSN 0777-6279 (printed version)
impact factor 2015: 0,87.

Prof. Dr. Isa Schön
Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences
Vautierstraat 29
1000 Brussels, Belgium


Annales de la Société malacologique de Belgique
​Annales de la Société royale malacologique et zoologique de Belgique
Annales de la Société Royale Zoologique de Belgique
Belgian Journal of Zoology