Tree Species Composition and Harvest Intensity Affect Herbivore Density and Leaf Damage on Beech, Fagus sylvatica, in Different Landscape Contexts

Mangels, Jule; Blüthgen, Nico; Frank, Kevin; Grassein, Fabrice; Hilpert, Andrea; Mody, Karsten (2015). Tree Species Composition and Harvest Intensity Affect Herbivore Density and Leaf Damage on Beech, Fagus sylvatica, in Different Landscape Contexts. PLoS ONE, 10(5), e0126140. Public Library of Science 10.1371/journal.pone.0126140

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Most forests are exposed to anthropogenic management activities that affect tree species composition and natural ecosystem processes. Changes in ecosystem processes such as herbivory depend on management intensity, and on regional environmental conditions and species pools. Whereas influences of specific forest management measures have already been addressed for different herbivore taxa on a local scale, studies considering effects of different aspects of forest management across different regions are rare. We assessed the influence of tree species composition and intensity of harvesting activities on arthropod herbivores and herbivore-related damage to beech trees, Fagus sylvatica, in 48 forest plots in three regions of Germany. We found that herbivore abundance and damage to beech trees differed between regions and that – despite the regional differences - density of tree-associated arthropod taxa and herbivore damage were consistently affected by tree species composition and harvest intensity. Specifically, overall herbivore damage to beech trees increased with increasing dominance of beech trees – suggesting the action of associational resistance processes – and decreased with harvest intensity. The density of leaf chewers and mines was positively related to leaf damage, and several arthropod groups responded to beech dominance and harvest intensity. The distribution of damage patterns was consistent with a vertical shift of herbivores to higher crown layers during the season and with higher beech dominance. By linking quantitative data on arthropod herbivore abundance and herbivory with tree species composition and harvesting activity in a wide variety of beech forests, our study helps to better understand the influence of forest management on interactions between a naturally dominant deciduous forest tree and arthropod herbivores.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS) > Plant Ecology
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS)

UniBE Contributor:

Grassein, Fabrice

Subjects:

500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)

ISSN:

1932-6203

Publisher:

Public Library of Science

Language:

English

Submitter:

Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

08 Jun 2015 11:54

Last Modified:

08 Jun 2015 11:54

Publisher DOI:

10.1371/journal.pone.0126140

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.69211

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/69211

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