Fire is a frequent event in Mediterranean ecosystems, yet the effects on animal diversity are poorly understood. In this paper, the short-term effects of a severe fire on the tenebrionid beetles in a planted pinewood in Central Italy are investigated in comparison with those recorded in other animal communities, namely collembolans, isopods and birds. The use of statistical tests to compare values of dominance, diversity and equitability (measured with various indexes), between burned and unburned habitats, as well as the use of two major niche-based species abundance models (the geometric series and the MacArthur broken stick model), revealed a strong decrease in diversity and evenness in all investigated animal groups, including birds, for which previous research suggested minor effects. In particular, tenebrionids are proved to be particularly indicative of habitat transformations determined by fire, showing important changes in community structure, from that characteristic of woodlands to that of open habitats. Because most of the original vegetation of Mediterranean woodlands has been removed by the continued influence of man, mature pinewoods, even if artificial, represent an important surrogate habitat for most species of tenebrionids (and likely other animals of conservation concern, such as bird species), and their preservation from catastrophic fires is of paramount importance.

Effects of fire on tenebrionid communities of a Pinus pinea plantation: a case study in a Mediterranean site

Fattorini, Simone
2010-01-01

Abstract

Fire is a frequent event in Mediterranean ecosystems, yet the effects on animal diversity are poorly understood. In this paper, the short-term effects of a severe fire on the tenebrionid beetles in a planted pinewood in Central Italy are investigated in comparison with those recorded in other animal communities, namely collembolans, isopods and birds. The use of statistical tests to compare values of dominance, diversity and equitability (measured with various indexes), between burned and unburned habitats, as well as the use of two major niche-based species abundance models (the geometric series and the MacArthur broken stick model), revealed a strong decrease in diversity and evenness in all investigated animal groups, including birds, for which previous research suggested minor effects. In particular, tenebrionids are proved to be particularly indicative of habitat transformations determined by fire, showing important changes in community structure, from that characteristic of woodlands to that of open habitats. Because most of the original vegetation of Mediterranean woodlands has been removed by the continued influence of man, mature pinewoods, even if artificial, represent an important surrogate habitat for most species of tenebrionids (and likely other animals of conservation concern, such as bird species), and their preservation from catastrophic fires is of paramount importance.
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11697/142194
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus 30
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 29
social impact