Eur. J. Entomol. 111 (5): 677-685, 2014 | DOI: 10.14411/eje.2014.076

Changes in carabid beetle fauna (Coleoptera: Carabidae) along successional gradients in post-industrial areas in Central Poland

Axel SCHWERK
Laboratory of Evaluation and Assessment of Natural Resources, Warsaw University of Life Sciences - SGGW, Nowoursynowska Street 166, 00-240 Warsaw, Poland; e-mail: aschwerk@yahoo.de

An inventory of the carabid fauna was carried out in two post-industrial areas in central Poland. The two areas studied were a heap of ash generated by a power station and a colliery spoil heap. In each area sites of different ages were investigated using pitfall traps over an eight year period from 2004 to 2011. At the end of this period each of the youngest sites was as old, or even older, than the next oldest site studied in each area. A pine forest growing on natural soil close to the ash heap was included as a reference study site. Changes were described in terms of the numbers of species and individuals, total biomass, Mean Individual Biomass of Carabidae (MIB) and the most frequently collected species. Indirect and direct gradient analyses were carried out in order to determine the environmental basis of the major pattern in variation and analyse the relationships with current environmental parameters. During the eight years of this study 5032 individuals of 84 species were collected. Numbers of individuals decreased significantly with the age of the sites on the ash heap and the MIB values increased significantly on both heaps. Changes in the most frequently collected species were more pronounced on the spoil heap, the study sites on which covered a time span of 26 years, than on the ash heap, for which the period was only 11 years. Characteristic species differed on the spoil and ash heaps and numbers of species were lower on the spoil heap. Despite differences in speed of succession at the sites studied, there was a tendency for the MIB to increase after about 9 to 16 years. Indirect and direct gradients analyses confirmed that the stage of succession (age of the study sites) was an important factor determining the carabid assemblages at the sites studied. The results of this study are important for the restoration and management of post-industrial areas.

Keywords: Carabidae, post-industrial area, succession, Central Poland, Mean Individual Biomass, landscape

Received: December 2, 2013; Accepted: March 7, 2014; Prepublished online: September 10, 2014; Published: December 10, 2014

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