Clear-cuts in production forests: From matrix to neo-habitat forbutterflies
2015 (English)In: Acta Oecologica, ISSN 1146-609X, E-ISSN 1873-6238, Vol. 69, 71-77 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Butterfly conservation in Europe is mainly focused on well-defined grassland habitat patches. Such anapproach ignores the impact of the surrounding landscape, which may contain complementary resourcesand facilitate dispersal. Here, we investigated butterfly species richness and abundance in a habitatnormally regarded as unsuitable matrix: production forestry clear-cuts. Butterflies were recorded in 48clear-cuts in southern Sweden differing with regards to the time since clear-cutting and land-use history(meadow or forest based on historical maps from the 1870s). All clear-cuts had been managed as productionforests for at least 80e120 years. A total of 39 species were found in clear-cuts of both land-usehistories, but clear-cuts with a history as meadow had on average 34% higher species richness and 19%higher abundance than did clear-cuts with a history as forest. No effect of the time since clear-cuttingwas found, irrespective of land-use history, which was likely due to the narrow timespan sampled (<8years). The absence of temporal effect suggests that clear-cuts may provide butterflies with valuableresources for 10e15 years. Assuming a 100 year forest rotational cycle, this means that 10e15% of thetotal forested area are made up by clear-cuts valuable to butterflies, which corresponds to an area aboutfour times as large as that of species-rich semi-natural grasslands. The study illustrates the importance ofconsidering land-use legacies in ecological research and question the landscape-ecological view thatclear-cuts make up an unsuitable matrix for butterflies. Moreover, forest conservation management withspecial attention to land-use history may increase the quality of the landscape, thus facilitating butterflymetapopulation persistence. Given their large area and assets of nectar and host plant resources, clearcutsmust be considered as a butterfly habitat in its own right. Being a man-made environment withshort history, we might call it a neo-habitat.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2015. Vol. 69, 71-77 p.
Boreal forest Butterfly conservation Historical maps Land-use history Production forestry Semi-natural grasslands
Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-121874DOI: 10.1016/j.actao.2015.09.006ISI: 000366079700009OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-121874DiVA: diva2:860359