The response of ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) to selection cutting in a South Carolina bottomland hardwood forest
We compared the response of ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) to the creation of canopy gaps of different size (0.13, 0.26, and 0.50 ha) and age (1 and 7 years) in a bottomland hardwood forest (South Carolina, USA). Samples were collected four times in 2001 by malaise and pitfall traps placed at the center and edge of each gap, and 50 m into the surrounding forest. Species richness was higher at the center of young gaps than in old gaps or in the forest, but there was no statistical difference in species richness between old gaps and the forests surrounding them. Carabid abundance followed the same trend, but only with the exclusion of Semiardistomis viridis (Say), a very abundant species that differed in its response to gap age compared to most other species. The carabid assemblage at the gap edge was very similar to that of the forest, and there appeared to be no distinct edge community. Species known to occur in open or disturbed habitats were more abundant at the center of young gaps than at any other location. Generalist species were relatively unaffected by the disturbance, but one species (Dicaelus dilatatus Say) was significantly less abundant at the centers of young gaps. Forest inhabiting species were less abundant at the centers of old gaps than in the forest, but not in the centers of young gaps. Comparison of community similarity at arious trapping locations showed that communities at the centers of old and young gaps had the lowest similarity (46.5%). The community similarity between young gap centers and nearby forest (49.1%) and old gap centers and nearby forest (50.0%) was similarly low. These results show that while the abundance and richness of carabids in old gaps was similar to that of the surrounding forest, the species composition between the two sites differed greatly.