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Canopy arthropod assemblages along a precipitation and latitudinal gradient among Douglas-fir Pseudotsuga menziesii forests in the Pacific Northwest of the United States

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Insects are particularly sensitive to environmental conditions and can serve as responsive indicators of changing climatic patterns and habitat conditions. However, changes in patterns of abundance over environmental gradients in forest ecosystems are poorly known. To examine landscape patterns of invertebrate assemblages, arboreal arthropods were collected during two seasons (spring and summer) by bagging branches from the lower, middle and upper canopy levels from six stands in nine second-growth (100–150 yr old) forests and old-growth (500 yr old) forests in Washington and Oregon. Detrended correspondence analysis and multi-response permutation procedure showed that the composition of the canopy assemblages varied significantly with latitude, precipitation and tree age. Indicator analysis was used to assess each taxon's importance in response to the environmental variables. Individual taxa showed associations with latitudinal and precipitation gradients, and between old-growth and mature Douglas-fir. These effects may be used to anticipate the impacts of climate change or land use scenarios on the spatial patterns of forest invertebrate assemblages.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2002

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