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Response of ground-dwelling beetles across logging coupe edges into streamside reserves

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Streamside reserves can provide important habitat reservation in forest landscapes subject to logging. Depending on the width of streamside reserves, edge effects have the potential to compromise their effectiveness for terrestrial conservation, yet edge effects into riparian environments have rarely been assessed. It would be unwise to assume that edge effects act in the same way at streamside reserves as at the non-riparian edges of logging coupes, as interactions with riparian influences on beetles along the stream-upslope gradient might create unique edge conditions. In this study, we assess edge effects on ground dwelling beetles at four sites, using transects of pitfall traps across logging coupe edges into streamside reserves that have only been affected by logging on one side of the stream. Edge effects were found to extend further into streamside reserves in this study than into upslope habitat at the same sites from a concurrent study. Edge effects were site specific and appeared to extend as far as the stream in most cases (23–65 m). Comparison of beetle assemblage composition with adjacent unlogged streams supported the conclusion that beetles within 10 m of streams in streamside reserves were still responding to edge effects. These results suggest that streamside reserves might not contain habitat comparable with riparian areas away from the influences of nearby clearfelling, and wider reserves are recommended to maintain core habitat not compromised by edge effects.
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Keywords: Coleoptera; biodiversity conservation; clearfelling; depth of edge influence; forest management; streamside reserves

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: School of Zoology and CRC for Forestry, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tas. 7001, Australia. 2: School of Zoology and Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tas. 7001, Australia.

Publication date: August 1, 2009

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