Effects of Post-Fire Deadwood Management on Soil Macroarthropod Communities
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AuthorMolinas-González, Carlos R.; Castro Gutiérrez, Jorge; González Megías, Adela; Leverkus, Alexandro B.
Forest firesBurnt-woodSpecies richnessSoil faunaPost-fire management
Molinas-González, C. R., Castro, J., González-Megías, A., & Leverkus, A. B. (2019). Effects of Post-Fire Deadwood Management on Soil Macroarthropod Communities. Forests, 10(11), 1046.
SponsorshipThis study was supported by Project 10/2005 from the Organismo Autónomo de Parques Nacionales (Spanish Government), CGL2008–01671 from the Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación, and P12-RNM-2705 from Junta de Andalucía. Programa Nacional de incentivo a investigadores (PRONII) and Programa de vinculación de científicos y tecnólogos from Comisión Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (Paraguay). A.B.L. acknowledges a postdoctoral grant from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. C.R.M-G. had a Ph.D. grant from the National University of Asunción (Paraguay) and Carolina Foundation (Spain).
Dead wood comprises a vast amount of biological legacies that set the scene for ecological regeneration after wildfires, yet its removal is the most frequent management strategy worldwide. Soil-dwelling organisms are conspicuous, and they provide essential ecosystem functions, but their possible affection by different post-fire management strategies has so far been neglected. We analyzed the abundance, richness, and composition of belowground macroarthropod communities under two contrasting dead-wood management regimes after a large wildfire in the Sierra Nevada Natural and National Park (Southeast Spain). Two plots at different elevation were established, each containing three replicates of two experimental treatments: partial cut, where trees were cut and their branches lopped off and left over the ground, and salvage logging, where all the trees were cut, logs were piled, branches were mechanically masticated, and slash was spread on the ground. Ten years after the application of the treatments, soil cores were extracted from two types of microhabitat created by these treatments: bare-soil (in both treatments) and under-logs (in the partial cut treatment only). Soil macroarthropod assemblages were dominated by Hemiptera and Hymenoptera (mostly ants) and were more abundant and richer in the lowest plot. The differences between dead-wood treatments were most evident at the scale of management interventions: abundance and richness were lowest after salvage logging, even under similar microhabitats (bare-soil). However, there were no significant differences between microhabitat types on abundance and richness within the partial cut treatment. Higher abundance and richness in the partial cut treatment likely resulted from higher resource availability and higher plant diversity after natural regeneration.