Eur. J. Entomol. 113: 113-121, 2016 | 10.14411/eje.2016.014

Relationships between Psychidae communities (Lepidoptera: Tineoidea) and the ecological characteristics of old-growth forests in a beech dominated landscape

Stefano SCALERCIO1, Teresa BONACCI2, Rosario TURCO1, Vincenzo BERNARDINI1
1 Consiglio per la ricerca in agricoltura e l'analisi dell'economia agraria, Unità di ricerca per la selvicoltura in ambiente mediterraneo, contrada Li Rocchi, I-87036 Rende (CS), Italy; e-mails: stefano.scalercio@entecra.it, rosario.turco@entecra.it, vincenzo.bernardini@entecra.it
2 Dipartimento di Biologia, Ecologia e Scienze della Terra, Università della Calabria, Via P. Bucci, I-87036 Rende (CS), Italy; e-mail: teresa.bonacci@unical.it

Several studies address the question of which forest attributes are most important for the conservation of biodiversity. Unfortunately, there are no unequivocal answers because the response of a biological group to changes in forest structure depends on its natural history and scale of organization. It is important to increase our knowledge of the potential relationships between under studied groups of species and forest variables in order to adopt timber harvesting strategies not detrimental to biodiversity, especially in old-growth forests. We assessed the importance of 10 forest attributes and old-growth for Psychidae (Lepidoptera) species and communities. Research was carried out in 12 forest stands in a mountainous beech dominated landscape in southern Italy, in the middle of the Mediterranean Basin. Samples were collected in 2001 and 2013 and data were merged after pairwise comparison analyses that confirmed the long term stability of communities. Correspondence Analysis, Cluster Analysis and non-parametric Spearman Rank Order Correlation were used to identify determinants of Psychidae abundance and diversity. We collected 2,732 Psychidae belonging to 8 species. Correspondence analysis identified old-growth as the main determinant of communities. Most significant attributes for individual species were beech dominance, diameter at breast height and its standard deviation. For Taleporia defoliella there were positive correlations with these forest parameters, whereas for Psyche crassiorella the correlations were negative. This study underlined the importance of forest attributes associated with old-growth forests for sustaining biodiversity. These findings indicate the need to incorporate these attributes in forest planning, especially those aspects that are easily recognizable such as the number of large trees.

Keywords: Lepidoptera, Psychidae, biodiversity, biological conservation, forest planning, old-growth, Italy

Received: July 29, 2015; Accepted: November 9, 2015; Published online: January 14, 2016

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