Rove beetles act as warning signs for clear-cutting consequences

Jun 12, 2007

New research from the University of Alberta and the Canadian Forest Service has revealed the humble rove beetle may actually have a lot to tell us about the effects of harvesting on forests species.

Rove beetles can be used as indicators of clear-cut harvesting and regeneration practices and can be used as an example as to how species react to harvesting. It has been found that after an area of forest was harvested, the many forest species, including rove beetles, decreased dramatically. As the forest regenerated, it never fully replicated the full characteristics of the older forest it replaced.

As insects are the most abundant animal species in forests, they have enormous potential as indicators of habitat change and recovery and are increasingly being used in conservation studies.

“We felt beetles were excellent candidates for this study because they are abundant and diverse, easily sampled, inhabit a variety of niches and are very sensitive to habitat change,” said John Spence, professor of Renewable Resources at the University of Alberta.

A total of 13, 978 rove beetles were collected and 98 species were identified during this study.

Once the forest was harvested the overall abundance of rove beetles declined while the diversity of species increased. Also most mature forest-dwelling species became much less abundant or disappeared completely immediately after harvest. Even the low amount of mature forest beetles that survived the initial harvest would eventually die out or migrate elsewhere within a few years of harvest.

“The more forests are harvested, the more mature forest species, such as the rove beetle, become threatened by fragmentation and loss of habitat. This study is significant because it indicates a new forest will not hold the same biota as an old forest, so we must ensure that forest managers conserve adequate patches of old forests or make adequate long term plans for their full recovery,” said Spence.

Source: University of Alberta

Explore further: Tarantula toxin is used to report on electrical activity in live cells

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

What do wildfires have to do with climate change?

1 hour ago

As the western U.S. faces its third year of severe drought, firefighters are still battling two large fires in California. The state, which is experiencing its worst drought since record keeping began in ...

52-million-year-old amber preserves 'ant-loving' beetle

Oct 02, 2014

Scientists have uncovered the fossil of a 52-million-year old beetle that likely was able to live alongside ants—preying on their eggs and usurping resources—within the comfort of their nest. The fossil, ...

Power lines offer environmental benefits

Sep 17, 2014

Power lines, long considered eyesores or worse, a potential threat to human health, actually serve a vital role in maintaining the health of a significant population, according to new research out of the ...

Recommended for you

Scientists see how plants optimize their repair

11 hours ago

Researchers led by a Washington State University biologist have found the optimal mechanism by which plants heal the botanical equivalent of a bad sunburn. Their work, published in the Proceedings of the Na ...

User comments : 0