Use of remnant boreal forest habitats by saproxylic beetle assemblages in even-aged managed landscapes.
Annie Webb, C.M. Buddle, Pierre Drapeau, Michel St-Germain.
Saproxylic Coleoptera are diverse insects that depend on dead wood in some or all of their life stages. In even-aged boreal forest management, remnant habitats left as strips and patches contain most of the dead wood available in managed landscapes and are expected to act as refuges for mature forest species during the regeneration phase. However, use of remnant habitats by the saproxylic fauna has rarely been investigated. Our objective was to characterize the saproxylic beetle assemblages using clearcuts and forest remnants in western Québec, Canada, and to explore the effects of forest remnant stand characteristics on saproxylic beetle assemblages. We sampled both beetle adults and larvae, using Lindgren funnels and snag dissection, in five habitat locations (clearcuts, forest interiors of large patches, edges of large patches, small patches and cut-block separators) from three distinct landscapes. Adult saproxylic beetles (all feeding guilds combined) had significantly higher species richness and catch rates in small patches compared to forest interiors of large patches; the phloeophagous/xylophagous group had significantly higher species richness only. Small patches, cut-block separators and edges of large patches also had the highest snag density and basal area, increasing habitat for many saproxylic beetles. No significant differences in density of saproxylic larvae were found between habitat patches, but snag dissection nevertheless suggests that snags in forest remnants are used by comparable densities of insects. Saproxylic beetles appear to readily use habitat remnants in even-aged managed landscapes suggesting that forest remnants can insure the local persistence of these species, at least in the timeframe investigated in our study.