As a fine-scale, manipulative model experiment leaf litter was added in plots to increase habitat heterogeneity in a 50-year-old Norway spruce plantation, established after the clear-cutting of a native beech forest, during a 2-year period in the Hungarian Mountain Range. Pitfall trap catches of carabids from leaf-litter plots were compared with those from control plots to explore the effect of leaf-litter addition. Difference in the species composition was revealed by ordination; scores of the samples of the two plot types were significantly separated along the first MDS axis. The most numerous species (Pterostichus oblongopunctatus) was significantly more abundant in the leaf-litter plots. However, there were no significant differences for the other most frequently obtained species. Habitat generalist species were the most abundant, followed by forest generalists, then forest specialists, and there were some open habitat species. Enhanced habitat heterogeneity (leaf-litter addition) in homogeneous plantations influenced the spatial distribution and composition of carabids, through altered abiotic (lower ground temperature in the leaf-litter plots) and biotic (more prey items) factors. Differences in abundance, species richness and Shannon diversity were not significant between the control and the manipulated plots, although carabid catch was higher in the leaf-litter plots during both years. Forestry practices to increase habitat heterogeneity should be considered to enhance biodiversity in managed forests.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Nature and Landscape Conservation