Landscape-Scale Implications of the Edge Effect on Soil Fauna Activity in a Temperate Forest

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Riutta , T , Clack , H , Crockatt , M & Slade , E M 2016 , ' Landscape-Scale Implications of the Edge Effect on Soil Fauna Activity in a Temperate Forest ' , Ecosystems , vol. 19 , no. 3 , pp. 534-544 . https://doi.org/10.1007/s10021-015-9939-9

Title: Landscape-Scale Implications of the Edge Effect on Soil Fauna Activity in a Temperate Forest
Author: Riutta, Terhi; Clack, Henry; Crockatt, Martha; Slade, Eleanor M.
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Department of Agricultural Sciences
Date: 2016-04
Language: eng
Number of pages: 11
Belongs to series: Ecosystems
ISSN: 1432-9840
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/212591
Abstract: Although studies on edge effects on species richness and abundance are numerous, the responses of ecosystem processes to these effects have received considerably less attention. How ecosystem processes respond to edge effects is particularly important in temperate forests, where small fragments and edge habitats form a considerable proportion of the total forest area. Soil fauna are key contributors to decomposition and soil biogeochemical cycling processes. Using the bait lamina technique, we quantified soil fauna feeding activity, and its dependence on soil moisture and distance to the edge in a broad-leaved forest in Southern England. Feeding activity was 40% lower at the forest edge than in the interior, and the depth of edge influence was approximately 75 m. A watering treatment showed that moisture limitation was the main driver of the reduced feeding activity at the edge. In England, only 33% of the forest area is greater than 75 m from the edge. Therefore, assuming that the results from this single-site study are representative for the landscape, it implies that only one- third of the forest area in England supports activity levels typical for the forest core, and that edge effects reduce the mean feeding activity across the landscape by 17% (with lower and upper 90% confidence intervals of 1.3 and 23%, respectively). Changing climatic conditions, such as summer droughts may exacerbate such effects as edges lose water faster than the forest interior. The results highlight the importance of taking edge effects into account in ecological studies and forest management planning in highly fragmented landscapes.
Subject: bait lamina
biodiversity-ecosystem functioning
climate change
fragmentation
macrofauna
upscaling
LEAF-LITTER DECOMPOSITION
BAIT-LAMINA TEST
FRAGMENTED LANDSCAPES
HABITAT FRAGMENTATION
ECOSYSTEM SERVICES
FEEDING ACTIVITIES
CLEAR-CUT
MICROCLIMATE
RESPONSES
MOISTURE
1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
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