Eur. J. Entomol. 110 (2): 319-326, 2013 | DOI: 10.14411/eje.2013.045

Response of Orthoptera to clear-cuts in beech forests

Anna SLIACKA, Anton KRIŠTÍN, Ladislav NAĎO
Institute of Forest Ecology, Department of Animal Ecology, Ľ. Štúra 2, SK-96053 Zvolen, Slovakia; e-mails: asliacka@savzv.sk; kristin@savzv.sk

Various disturbances in forests often result in the formation of open habitats with characteristics that are distinctly different from those of the original forest (microclimate, illumination, stand age and composition). These disturbances affect the habitat heterogeneity in time and space and seem to drive forest succession and changes in biodiversity in forests. Little is known about how the colonization of deforested habitats by Orthoptera is influenced by environmental factors. We studied the association between the structure of orthopteran assemblages and the age of clear-cuts, vegetation structure and other environmental parameters (size, elevation, altitude). This involved 33 clear-cuts of three age categories in broadleaved forests dominated by European beech. The Orthoptera were sampled using sweep netting and by counting individuals recorded along transects that ran parallel to those used for recording the structure of the vegetation. We recorded significant differences in the number and abundance of species in the three age categories of clear-cuts. Grasshopper species were more abundant than bush-crickets in first year clear-cuts. Species capable of flight occured in all three age categories of clear-cuts (>62% of the 27 species recorded). All the species of Orthoptera identified were present in two year-old clear-cuts. The species composition and abundance of Ensifera and Caelifera differed in their association with the six vegetation parameters studied. While the Caelifera occurred in habitats with bare ground the Ensifera mainly occurred in those with a higher proportion of shrubs and trees. There was also a positive correlation between number of species of Orthoptera and area of the clear-cut regardless of its age as well between the number of species of Orthoptera and elevation.

Keywords: Ecology, Orthoptera, beech forest, forest succession, vegetation structure, central Europe

Received: June 27, 2012; Accepted: November 16, 2012; Published: April 11, 2013

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