Changes in the carabid fauna of a previously agricultural field during the first twelve years of impoverishing treatments
This study is summarised as evidence for the following.
Connect areas of natural or semi-natural habitatAction Link
Connect areas of natural or semi-natural habitat
An unreplicated habitat restoration study from 1973 to 1984 on a heathland reserve in the Netherlands (van Dijk 1986) found a substantial loss of ground beetle (Carabidae) species in an ex-arable field undergoing restoration to heathland over the 12-year period. Many of the ground beetle species that disappeared or decreased were able to disperse and capable of flight. The adjacent heathland and a young coppiced oak forest did not lose any species characteristic of their respective habitats over the same period. The numbers of several ground beetle species (Amara communis, Pterostichus versicolor, A. lunicollis) increased substantially in the field over the 12 year period, and the authors attribute this increase to the restoration process, which involved management to promote nutrient impoverishment of the soil. A small group of species that favour dense heather (Calluna spp., Erica spp.) vegetation and that were found in the adjacent heathland had not colonized the restoration field by the end of the study. Cultivation of the ca. 5 ha field ceased in 1972, prior to which it had mainly been used for growing wheat. The vegetation was thereafter mown annually and the cuttings removed in order to impoverish the soil. Sets of three pitfall traps (25 x 25 cm, 10 m apart) were established in the restoration field, the heath, the forest and a 3-4 m wide sand bank running between the field and the forest. Ground beetles were sampled weekly throughout the year for 12 years.