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Soil Arthropod Responses to Different Patch Types in a Mixed-Conifer Forest of the Sierra Nevada

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The Teakettle Ecosystem Experiment in the southern Sierra Nevada is using thinning and prescribed fire to recreate historical stand conditions. As part of Teakettle we assessed pretreatment diversity and density of the soil arthropod community in 1998 and 2000. We determined the density and diversity of soil microarthropods among treatment plots, the influence of patch type (closed canopy, canopy gaps, Ceanothus sp., and coarse woody debris [CWD]), and established baseline pretreatment data. Mites were the dominant microinvertebrates (78%). Canopy gaps had the lowest mite density and diversity, and were more sensitive to year-to-year changes in climate (1998 was an extremely wet year for the region). Soil organic matter as represented by bulk density appeared to be most closely associated with changes in species composition among different patch types. There was substantial overlap, however, in community composition among the different patch types as represented by nonmetric multidimensional scaling (NMS) ordination. No significant differences were observed for mite species richness and density among plots assigned to future treatments. The gap data suggest that in the characteristically hot, dry summers of the southern Sierra Nevada the rate of recovery of vegetation following thinning and fire treatments may have a significant influence on the recovery rate of microarthropods, not only by providing sources of energy inputs in the form of dead organic matter, but also by moderating the microclimate of the forest floor. FOR. SCI. 51(3):255–265.

Keywords: Mites; Teakettle Project; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; natural resource management; natural resources; pretreatment data; soil invertebrates

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: 1: Washington State Department of Agriculture Plant Protection Division Olympia WA 98501 Phone: (360) 664-0905, Email: 2: College of Forest Resources University of Washington Seattle WA 91895 Phone: (206) 685-0953, Email:

Publication date: 2005-06-01

More about this publication?
  • Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.702
    Ranking: 16 of 66 in forestry

    Average time from submission to first decision: 62.5 days*
    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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