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You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2023 / Do carabids struggle to recolonize restored grasslands in the fragmented landscapes of Northern Belgium?

Eva DeCock, Iris Moeneclaey, Stephanie Schelfhout, Wouter Dekoninck, An De Schrijver, Lander Baeten, and Pallieter De Smedt (2023)

Do carabids struggle to recolonize restored grasslands in the fragmented landscapes of Northern Belgium?

Insect Conservation and Diversity:1-10.

1. Semi-natural grasslands in Western Europe are degrading and declining. Their plant species diversity and associated fauna, such as arthropods, are decreasing fast making restoration crucial. 2. Carabid beetles are an essential link in ecosystem functioning (e.g., through herbivory and predation) and provide important ecosystem services (e.g., pest control). As a diverse group from different trophic levels, they occupy a variety of ecological niches, making them good indicators of restoration success and habitat quality. 3. To study how different aspects of carabid diversity change along a restoration gradient from degraded grasslands to restored semi-natural Nardus grasslands, we sampled carabid beetles in grasslands in Northern Belgium. We analysed differences in abundance, diversity and community composition and investigated carabid traits potentially influencing carabids’ response to grassland restoration. 4. Species richness did not change along the restoration gradient, but number of individuals decreased as grassland restoration time and effort increased and species composition changed, mostly caused by species turnover. As grassland restoration time and effort increased, carabid body size decreased and the proportion of dayactive carabids increased. Predators and habitat generalists were dominant along the entire gradient. 5. Even though the target vegetation was restored, the carabid communities were not, or at least, did not possess yet traits to be expected from a restored community. The landscape in Northern Belgium might be too fragmented for larger species with low dispersal ability to recolonize restored grasslands. However, restored speciesrich grasslands are beneficial for conservation of meadow birds as day-active beetles thriving in restored grasslands are an important food source
RBINS Collection(s), PDF available, Open Access, Impact Factor, Peer Review
arthropods, Carabidae, dispersal ability, ecological restoration, functional traits, meadow birds,, Nardus grasslands, pitfall traps
  • DOI: 10.1111/icad.12649
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