Forest management affects saproxylic beetles through tree species composition and canopy cover

Edelmann, Pascal
Ambarlı, Didem
Gossner, Martin M.
Schall, Peter
Ammer, Christian
Wende, Beate
Schulze, Ernst-Detlef
Weisser, Wolfgang W.
Seibold, Sebastian
Forest management has been shown to affect biodiversity, but the effects vary among taxa and studies. Due to their host-tree preferences, many saproxylic, i.e. deadwood-dependent, beetle species are likely affected by forest management via changes in tree species composition. However, further structural differences caused by forest management, such as microclimatic conditions, may interfere with effects of tree species. We lack a more detailed understanding of how forest management intensity influences saproxylic beetles through tree species composition and structural properties. We analyzed the effect of forest management on saproxylic beetles using an eight-year dataset collected from 379 experimental logs of 13 different tree species, which were exposed in forests of different management intensity in three regions of Germany. To quantify forest management intensity, we first used a composite index (ForMI) which considers the share of locally non-native tree species, the origin of deadwood and the harvesting rate and then replaced it by five forest structural and compositional properties. This two-step approach allowed to assess the overall effects of management summarizing different aspects and to identify the main forest attributes driving these overall effects. We further investigated whether the effects differ between beetle assemblages emerging from conifer and broadleaf logs (host level), and between generalists, conifer-specialists, and broadleaf-specialists (beetle specialization level). Abundance and species richness increased with increasing ForMI for all beetles, generalists, and coniferspecialists, but not for broadleaf-specialists. Effects of ForMI were stronger for assemblages emerging from conifer than broadleaf logs. Among the evaluated structural and compositional variables, strongest effects were observed for conifer share at stand level and canopy cover. Conifer share positively affected the species richness of all beetles, generalists and conifer specialists, but not of broadleaf specialists. Canopy cover negatively affected all beetles, generalists and conifer specialists, but did not affect broadleaf specialists. Our results show that major drivers behind effects of forest management on saproxylic beetles are differences in tree species composition and canopy cover. Effects differ between beetle groups depending on their host


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Citation Formats
P. Edelmann et al., “Forest management affects saproxylic beetles through tree species composition and canopy cover,” FOREST ECOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT, vol. 524, pp. 0–0, 2022, Accessed: 00, 2022. [Online]. Available: