Structural indicators of spider communities across the forest plantation cycle

Anne Oxbrough, Tom Gittings, John O'Halloran, Paul S Giller, George F Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

78 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Given the expansion of plantation forests in Ireland over recent years, there is a need to assess their impact on biodiversity and to identify how sustainable forest management strategies can incorporate biodiversity. We aimed to assess the impact of plantation forests on spider communities and identify structural indicators of their diversity. Pitfall traps were used to sample spiders in Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) and ash (Fraxinus excelsior) plantations at different stages of the forest cycle and cover of vegetation, dead wood and soil organic content were measured within each site. Ordinations revealed that spider assemblages were separated by both forest development and canopy species across the forest cycle. The pre-thicket ash and spruce assemblages were similar, whereas canopy species had a greater effect in the more structurally developed stands. The mature ash plots formed a distinct group from the other stands. Overall species richness was highest in the spruce and ash pre-thicket stands, and in the mature spruce stands with a more open canopy. Mature ash stands had the lowest species richness. Lower field layer vegetation was positively correlated with total spider species richness and open habitat specialist species richness whereas canopy closure had a negative effect on these species variables. Forest spider species were positively correlated with litter cover, litter depth and twig cover. To enhance the diversity of open and forest spider species within a stand, the growth of lower field layer vegetation should be encouraged at all stages of the forest cycle, whilst retaining features typical of a mature forest.Within a plantation, a mosaic of different aged stands will sustain both open and forest specialists to enhance diversity. The distinct assemblages found in the mature plantations indicate that on a landscape scale, the establishment of both ash and spruce plantations will enhance overall diversity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-183
JournalForest Ecology and Management
Volume212
Issue number1-3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2005

Fingerprint

forest plantations
spider
Araneae
plantation
ash
Picea
plantations
canopy
species diversity
species richness
Picea sitchensis
field layer
biodiversity
vegetation
litter
Fraxinus excelsior
indicator
sustainable forestry
pitfall traps
dead wood

Keywords

  • Biodiversity
  • Spider assemblages
  • Structural indicators
  • Sustainable forest management
  • Forest development
  • Plantation forest

Cite this

Oxbrough, Anne ; Gittings, Tom ; O'Halloran, John ; Giller, Paul S ; Smith, George F. / Structural indicators of spider communities across the forest plantation cycle. In: Forest Ecology and Management. 2005 ; Vol. 212, No. 1-3. pp. 171-183.
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title = "Structural indicators of spider communities across the forest plantation cycle",
abstract = "Given the expansion of plantation forests in Ireland over recent years, there is a need to assess their impact on biodiversity and to identify how sustainable forest management strategies can incorporate biodiversity. We aimed to assess the impact of plantation forests on spider communities and identify structural indicators of their diversity. Pitfall traps were used to sample spiders in Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) and ash (Fraxinus excelsior) plantations at different stages of the forest cycle and cover of vegetation, dead wood and soil organic content were measured within each site. Ordinations revealed that spider assemblages were separated by both forest development and canopy species across the forest cycle. The pre-thicket ash and spruce assemblages were similar, whereas canopy species had a greater effect in the more structurally developed stands. The mature ash plots formed a distinct group from the other stands. Overall species richness was highest in the spruce and ash pre-thicket stands, and in the mature spruce stands with a more open canopy. Mature ash stands had the lowest species richness. Lower field layer vegetation was positively correlated with total spider species richness and open habitat specialist species richness whereas canopy closure had a negative effect on these species variables. Forest spider species were positively correlated with litter cover, litter depth and twig cover. To enhance the diversity of open and forest spider species within a stand, the growth of lower field layer vegetation should be encouraged at all stages of the forest cycle, whilst retaining features typical of a mature forest.Within a plantation, a mosaic of different aged stands will sustain both open and forest specialists to enhance diversity. The distinct assemblages found in the mature plantations indicate that on a landscape scale, the establishment of both ash and spruce plantations will enhance overall diversity.",
keywords = "Biodiversity, Spider assemblages, Structural indicators, Sustainable forest management, Forest development, Plantation forest",
author = "Anne Oxbrough and Tom Gittings and John O'Halloran and Giller, {Paul S} and Smith, {George F}",
note = "Alaback, P.B., Herman, F.R., 1988. Long-term response of understorey vegetation to stand density in Picea-Tsuga forests. Can. J. For. Res. 18, 1522–1530. Askenmo, C., von Bro¨mssen, A., Ekman, J., Jansson, C., 1977. Impact of some wintering birds on spider abundance in spruce. Oikos 28, 90–94. Butterfield, J., Luff, M.L., Baines, M., Eyre, M.D., 1995. Carabid beetles communities as indicators conservation potential in upland forests. For. Ecol. Manage. 79, 63–77. Cameron, A., Johnston, R.J., McAdam, J., 2004. Classification and evaluation of spider assemblages on environmentally sensitive areas in northern Ireland. Agric. Ecosyst. Environ. 102, 29–40. Clarke, K.R., 1993. Non-parametric multivariate analyses of changes in community structure. Aust. J. Ecol. 18, 117–143. Clausen, I.H.S., 1986. The use of spiders (Araneae) as ecological indicators. Bull. British Arachnol. Assoc. 7, 83–86. Coillte, 2003, http://www.coillte.ie/managing_our_forests.htm, Coillte Teoranta. Curtis, D.J., 1980. Pitfalls in spider community studies (Arachnida: Araneae). J. Arachnol. 8, 271–280. Day, K.R., Marshall, S., Heaney, C., 1993. Associations between forest type and invertebrates: ground beetle community patterns in a natural oak wood and juxtaposed coniferous plantations. Forestry 66, 37–50. De Bakker, D., Maelfait, J.P., Hendrickx, F., Van Waesberghe, D., De Vos, B., Thys, S., De Bruyn, L., 2000. A first analysis on the relationship between forest soil quality and spider (Araneae) communities of Flemish forest stands. Ekologia-Bratislava 19, 45–58. Downie, I., Coulson, J., Butterfield, J., 1996. Distribution and dynamics of surface dwelling spiders across a pasture–plantation ecotone. Ecography 19, 29–40. Duelli, P., Obrist, M.K., 2003. Biodiversity indicators: the choice of values and measures. Agric. Ecosyst. Environ. 98, 87–98. Fahy, O., Foley, N., 2002. Biodiversity opportunities in plantations managed for wood supply. In: MacLennan, L. (Ed.), Opportunities for Biodiversity Enhancement in Plantation Forests. COFORD, Cork, Ireland. Fahy, O., Gormally, M., 1998. A comparison of plant and carabid communities in an Irish oak woodland with a nearby conifer plantation and a clearfelled site. For. Ecol. Manage. 110, 263– 273. Ferris, R., Humphrey, J.W., 1999. A review of potential biodiversity indicators for application in British forests. Forestry 72, 313– 328. Ferris, R., Peace, A.J., Humphrey, J.W., Broome, A.C., 2000. Relationships between vegetation, site type and stand structure in coniferous plantations in Britain. For. Ecol. Manage. 136, 35– 51. Forest Service, 2000. Forest Biodiversity Guidelines. Forest Service, Department of the Marine and Natural resources, Dublin. Gittings, T., Smith, G., Wilson, M., French, L., Oxbrough, A., O’Donoghue, S., Pithon, J., O’Donnell, V., McKee, A., Iremonger, S., O’Halloran, J., Kelly, D., Mitchell, F., Giller, P., 2004. Assessment of Biodiversity at Different Stages of the Forest Cycle. Unpublished Report Prepared for COFORD and EPA. Gravesen, E., 2000. Spiders (Araneae) and other invertebrate groups as ecological indicators in wetland areas. Ekol. (Bratislava) 19, 39–42. Grimshaw, H.M., 1989. Analysis of soils. In: Grimshaw, H.M. (Ed.), Chemical Analysis of Ecological Materials. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford, pp. 14–16. Gunnarsson, B., 1996. Bird predation and vegetation structure affecting spruce-living arthropods in a temperate forest. J. Anim. Ecol. 65, 389–397. Haila, Y., Hanski, I., Niemela¨, J., Punttila, P., Raivio, S., Tukia, H., 1994. Forestry and the boreal fauna: matching management with natural forest dynamics. Ann. Zool. Fenn. 31, 187–202. Halaj, J., Ross, R., Moldenke, R., 2000. Importance of habitat structure to the arthropod food-web in Douglas-fir canopies. Oikos 90, 139–152. Harvey, P., Nellist, D., Telfer, M., 2002. Provisional Atlas of British Spiders (Arachnida, Araneae), vol. 1–2. Biological Records Centre, Huntingdon. Huhta, V., 2002. Soil macroarthropod communities in planted birch stands in comparison with natural forests in central Finland. Appl. Soil Ecol. 20, 199–209. Humphrey, J., Davey, S., Peace, A., Ferris, R., Harding, K., 2002. Lichens and bryophyte communities of planted and semi-natural forests in Britain: the influence of site type, stand structure and deadwood. Conserv. Biol. 107, 165–180. Humphrey, J., Hawes, C., Pearce, A., Ferris-Kaan, R., Jukes, M., 1999. Relationships between insect diversity and habitat characteristics in plantation forests. For. Ecol. Manage. 113, 11– 21. Joyce, P., O’Carroll, N., 2002. Sitka Spruce in Ireland. National Council for Forest Research and Development (COFORD), Dublin. Jukes, M., Peace, A., Ferris, R., 2001. Carabid beetle communities associated with coniferous plantations in Britain: the influence of site, ground vegetation and stand structure. For. Ecol. Manage. 148, 271–286. Legendre, P., Legendre, L., 1998. Numerical Ecology, second English ed. Elsevier, Amsterdam. Lindenmayer, D., 1999. Future directions for biodiversity conservation in managed forests: indicator species, impact studies and monitoring programs. For. Ecol. Manage. 115, 277–287. Marc, P., Canard, A., Ysnel, F., 1999. Spiders (Araneae) useful for pest limitation and bioindication. Agric. Ecosyst. Environ. 74, 229–273. McGeoch, M., 1998. The selection, testing and application of terrestrial insects as bioindicators. Biol. Rev. 73, 181–201. Melbourne, B., 1999. Bias in the effect of habitat structure on pitfall traps: an experimental evaluation. Aust. J. Ecol. 24, 228–239. Moulder, B., Reichle, D., 1972. Significance of spider predation in the energy dynamics of forest-floor arthropod communities. Ecol. Monogr. 42, 473–498. Mueller-Dombois, D., Ellenberg, H., 1974. Aims and Methods of Vegetation Ecology. Wiley and Sons, New York. Nentwig,W., 1980. The selective prey of Linyphiid-like spiders and of their space webs. Oecologia 45, 236–243. Newton, A., Humphrey, J., 1997. Forest management for biodiversity: perspectives on the policy context and current initiatives. In: Fleming, V., Newton, A., Vickery, J., Usher, M. (Eds.), Biodiversity in Scotland: Status, Trends and Initiatives. Scottish National Heritage Council, Edinburgh. Noss, R.F., 1990. Indicators for monitoring biodiversity—a hierarchical approach. Conserv. Biol. 4, 355–364. Nyfeller, M., Sunderland, K., 2003. Composition, abundance and pest control potential of spider communities in agroecosystems: a comparison of European and US studies. Agric. Ecosyst. Environ. 95, 579–612. Oliver, I., Mac Nally, R., York, A., 2000. Identifying performance indicators of the effects of forest management on ground-active arthropod biodiversity using hierarchical partitioning and partial canonical correspondence analysis. For. Ecol. Manage. 139, 21– 40. Pajunen, T., Haila, Y., Halme, E., Niemela, J., Punttila, P., 1995. Ground-dwelling spiders (Arachnida, Araneae) in fragmented old forests and surrounding managed forests in southern Finland. Ecography 18, 62–72. Pettersson, R., 1996. Effect of forestry on the abundance and diversity of arboreal spiders in the boreal spruce forest. Ecography 19, 221–228. Roberts, M., 1993. The Spiders of Great Britain and Ireland. Part One, compact ed. Harley Books, Colchester. Siira-Pietika¨inen, A., Haimi, J., Siitonen, J., 2003. Short-term responses of soil macroarthropod community to clear felling and alternative forest regeneration methods. For. Ecol. Manage. 172, 339–353. Standen, V., 2000. The adequacy of collecting techniques for estimating species richness of grassland invertebrates. J. Appl. Ecol. 37, 884–893. Uetz, G.W., 1975. Temporal and spatial variation in species diversity of wandering spiders (Araneae) in deciduous forest litter. Environ. Entomol. 4, 719–724. Uetz, G., 1979. The influence of variation in litter habitats on spider communities. Oecologia 40, 29–42. Uetz, G., 1991. Habitat structure and spider foraging. In: Bell, S., McCoy, E., Mushinsky, H. (Eds.), Habitat Structure: The Physical Arrangement of Objects in Space. Chapman and Hall, London. Watt, A., Barbour, D., McBeath, C., 1997. The Invertebrate Fauna Associated with Birch in Spruce Forests. Scottish National Heritage Research, Survey and Monitoring Report No. 82. Willet, T.R., 2001. Spiders and other arthropods as indicators in oldgrowth versus logged redwood stands. Restor. Ecol. 9, 410–420.",
year = "2005",
doi = "10.1016/j.foreco.2005.03.040",
language = "English",
volume = "212",
pages = "171--183",
journal = "Forest Ecology and Management",
issn = "0378-1127",
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}

Structural indicators of spider communities across the forest plantation cycle. / Oxbrough, Anne; Gittings, Tom; O'Halloran, John; Giller, Paul S; Smith, George F.

In: Forest Ecology and Management, Vol. 212, No. 1-3, 2005, p. 171-183.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Structural indicators of spider communities across the forest plantation cycle

AU - Oxbrough, Anne

AU - Gittings, Tom

AU - O'Halloran, John

AU - Giller, Paul S

AU - Smith, George F

N1 - Alaback, P.B., Herman, F.R., 1988. Long-term response of understorey vegetation to stand density in Picea-Tsuga forests. Can. J. For. Res. 18, 1522–1530. Askenmo, C., von Bro¨mssen, A., Ekman, J., Jansson, C., 1977. Impact of some wintering birds on spider abundance in spruce. Oikos 28, 90–94. Butterfield, J., Luff, M.L., Baines, M., Eyre, M.D., 1995. Carabid beetles communities as indicators conservation potential in upland forests. For. Ecol. Manage. 79, 63–77. Cameron, A., Johnston, R.J., McAdam, J., 2004. Classification and evaluation of spider assemblages on environmentally sensitive areas in northern Ireland. Agric. Ecosyst. Environ. 102, 29–40. Clarke, K.R., 1993. Non-parametric multivariate analyses of changes in community structure. Aust. J. Ecol. 18, 117–143. Clausen, I.H.S., 1986. The use of spiders (Araneae) as ecological indicators. Bull. British Arachnol. Assoc. 7, 83–86. Coillte, 2003, http://www.coillte.ie/managing_our_forests.htm, Coillte Teoranta. Curtis, D.J., 1980. Pitfalls in spider community studies (Arachnida: Araneae). J. Arachnol. 8, 271–280. Day, K.R., Marshall, S., Heaney, C., 1993. Associations between forest type and invertebrates: ground beetle community patterns in a natural oak wood and juxtaposed coniferous plantations. Forestry 66, 37–50. De Bakker, D., Maelfait, J.P., Hendrickx, F., Van Waesberghe, D., De Vos, B., Thys, S., De Bruyn, L., 2000. A first analysis on the relationship between forest soil quality and spider (Araneae) communities of Flemish forest stands. Ekologia-Bratislava 19, 45–58. Downie, I., Coulson, J., Butterfield, J., 1996. Distribution and dynamics of surface dwelling spiders across a pasture–plantation ecotone. Ecography 19, 29–40. Duelli, P., Obrist, M.K., 2003. Biodiversity indicators: the choice of values and measures. Agric. Ecosyst. Environ. 98, 87–98. Fahy, O., Foley, N., 2002. Biodiversity opportunities in plantations managed for wood supply. In: MacLennan, L. (Ed.), Opportunities for Biodiversity Enhancement in Plantation Forests. COFORD, Cork, Ireland. Fahy, O., Gormally, M., 1998. A comparison of plant and carabid communities in an Irish oak woodland with a nearby conifer plantation and a clearfelled site. For. Ecol. Manage. 110, 263– 273. Ferris, R., Humphrey, J.W., 1999. A review of potential biodiversity indicators for application in British forests. Forestry 72, 313– 328. Ferris, R., Peace, A.J., Humphrey, J.W., Broome, A.C., 2000. Relationships between vegetation, site type and stand structure in coniferous plantations in Britain. For. Ecol. Manage. 136, 35– 51. Forest Service, 2000. Forest Biodiversity Guidelines. Forest Service, Department of the Marine and Natural resources, Dublin. Gittings, T., Smith, G., Wilson, M., French, L., Oxbrough, A., O’Donoghue, S., Pithon, J., O’Donnell, V., McKee, A., Iremonger, S., O’Halloran, J., Kelly, D., Mitchell, F., Giller, P., 2004. Assessment of Biodiversity at Different Stages of the Forest Cycle. Unpublished Report Prepared for COFORD and EPA. Gravesen, E., 2000. Spiders (Araneae) and other invertebrate groups as ecological indicators in wetland areas. Ekol. (Bratislava) 19, 39–42. Grimshaw, H.M., 1989. Analysis of soils. In: Grimshaw, H.M. (Ed.), Chemical Analysis of Ecological Materials. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford, pp. 14–16. Gunnarsson, B., 1996. Bird predation and vegetation structure affecting spruce-living arthropods in a temperate forest. J. Anim. Ecol. 65, 389–397. Haila, Y., Hanski, I., Niemela¨, J., Punttila, P., Raivio, S., Tukia, H., 1994. Forestry and the boreal fauna: matching management with natural forest dynamics. Ann. Zool. Fenn. 31, 187–202. Halaj, J., Ross, R., Moldenke, R., 2000. Importance of habitat structure to the arthropod food-web in Douglas-fir canopies. Oikos 90, 139–152. Harvey, P., Nellist, D., Telfer, M., 2002. Provisional Atlas of British Spiders (Arachnida, Araneae), vol. 1–2. Biological Records Centre, Huntingdon. Huhta, V., 2002. Soil macroarthropod communities in planted birch stands in comparison with natural forests in central Finland. Appl. Soil Ecol. 20, 199–209. Humphrey, J., Davey, S., Peace, A., Ferris, R., Harding, K., 2002. Lichens and bryophyte communities of planted and semi-natural forests in Britain: the influence of site type, stand structure and deadwood. Conserv. Biol. 107, 165–180. Humphrey, J., Hawes, C., Pearce, A., Ferris-Kaan, R., Jukes, M., 1999. Relationships between insect diversity and habitat characteristics in plantation forests. For. Ecol. Manage. 113, 11– 21. Joyce, P., O’Carroll, N., 2002. Sitka Spruce in Ireland. National Council for Forest Research and Development (COFORD), Dublin. Jukes, M., Peace, A., Ferris, R., 2001. Carabid beetle communities associated with coniferous plantations in Britain: the influence of site, ground vegetation and stand structure. For. Ecol. Manage. 148, 271–286. Legendre, P., Legendre, L., 1998. Numerical Ecology, second English ed. Elsevier, Amsterdam. Lindenmayer, D., 1999. Future directions for biodiversity conservation in managed forests: indicator species, impact studies and monitoring programs. For. Ecol. Manage. 115, 277–287. Marc, P., Canard, A., Ysnel, F., 1999. Spiders (Araneae) useful for pest limitation and bioindication. Agric. Ecosyst. Environ. 74, 229–273. McGeoch, M., 1998. The selection, testing and application of terrestrial insects as bioindicators. Biol. Rev. 73, 181–201. Melbourne, B., 1999. Bias in the effect of habitat structure on pitfall traps: an experimental evaluation. Aust. J. Ecol. 24, 228–239. Moulder, B., Reichle, D., 1972. Significance of spider predation in the energy dynamics of forest-floor arthropod communities. Ecol. Monogr. 42, 473–498. Mueller-Dombois, D., Ellenberg, H., 1974. Aims and Methods of Vegetation Ecology. Wiley and Sons, New York. Nentwig,W., 1980. The selective prey of Linyphiid-like spiders and of their space webs. Oecologia 45, 236–243. Newton, A., Humphrey, J., 1997. Forest management for biodiversity: perspectives on the policy context and current initiatives. In: Fleming, V., Newton, A., Vickery, J., Usher, M. (Eds.), Biodiversity in Scotland: Status, Trends and Initiatives. Scottish National Heritage Council, Edinburgh. Noss, R.F., 1990. Indicators for monitoring biodiversity—a hierarchical approach. Conserv. Biol. 4, 355–364. Nyfeller, M., Sunderland, K., 2003. Composition, abundance and pest control potential of spider communities in agroecosystems: a comparison of European and US studies. Agric. Ecosyst. Environ. 95, 579–612. Oliver, I., Mac Nally, R., York, A., 2000. Identifying performance indicators of the effects of forest management on ground-active arthropod biodiversity using hierarchical partitioning and partial canonical correspondence analysis. For. Ecol. Manage. 139, 21– 40. Pajunen, T., Haila, Y., Halme, E., Niemela, J., Punttila, P., 1995. Ground-dwelling spiders (Arachnida, Araneae) in fragmented old forests and surrounding managed forests in southern Finland. Ecography 18, 62–72. Pettersson, R., 1996. Effect of forestry on the abundance and diversity of arboreal spiders in the boreal spruce forest. Ecography 19, 221–228. Roberts, M., 1993. The Spiders of Great Britain and Ireland. Part One, compact ed. Harley Books, Colchester. Siira-Pietika¨inen, A., Haimi, J., Siitonen, J., 2003. Short-term responses of soil macroarthropod community to clear felling and alternative forest regeneration methods. For. Ecol. Manage. 172, 339–353. Standen, V., 2000. The adequacy of collecting techniques for estimating species richness of grassland invertebrates. J. Appl. Ecol. 37, 884–893. Uetz, G.W., 1975. Temporal and spatial variation in species diversity of wandering spiders (Araneae) in deciduous forest litter. Environ. Entomol. 4, 719–724. Uetz, G., 1979. The influence of variation in litter habitats on spider communities. Oecologia 40, 29–42. Uetz, G., 1991. Habitat structure and spider foraging. In: Bell, S., McCoy, E., Mushinsky, H. (Eds.), Habitat Structure: The Physical Arrangement of Objects in Space. Chapman and Hall, London. Watt, A., Barbour, D., McBeath, C., 1997. The Invertebrate Fauna Associated with Birch in Spruce Forests. Scottish National Heritage Research, Survey and Monitoring Report No. 82. Willet, T.R., 2001. Spiders and other arthropods as indicators in oldgrowth versus logged redwood stands. Restor. Ecol. 9, 410–420.

PY - 2005

Y1 - 2005

N2 - Given the expansion of plantation forests in Ireland over recent years, there is a need to assess their impact on biodiversity and to identify how sustainable forest management strategies can incorporate biodiversity. We aimed to assess the impact of plantation forests on spider communities and identify structural indicators of their diversity. Pitfall traps were used to sample spiders in Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) and ash (Fraxinus excelsior) plantations at different stages of the forest cycle and cover of vegetation, dead wood and soil organic content were measured within each site. Ordinations revealed that spider assemblages were separated by both forest development and canopy species across the forest cycle. The pre-thicket ash and spruce assemblages were similar, whereas canopy species had a greater effect in the more structurally developed stands. The mature ash plots formed a distinct group from the other stands. Overall species richness was highest in the spruce and ash pre-thicket stands, and in the mature spruce stands with a more open canopy. Mature ash stands had the lowest species richness. Lower field layer vegetation was positively correlated with total spider species richness and open habitat specialist species richness whereas canopy closure had a negative effect on these species variables. Forest spider species were positively correlated with litter cover, litter depth and twig cover. To enhance the diversity of open and forest spider species within a stand, the growth of lower field layer vegetation should be encouraged at all stages of the forest cycle, whilst retaining features typical of a mature forest.Within a plantation, a mosaic of different aged stands will sustain both open and forest specialists to enhance diversity. The distinct assemblages found in the mature plantations indicate that on a landscape scale, the establishment of both ash and spruce plantations will enhance overall diversity.

AB - Given the expansion of plantation forests in Ireland over recent years, there is a need to assess their impact on biodiversity and to identify how sustainable forest management strategies can incorporate biodiversity. We aimed to assess the impact of plantation forests on spider communities and identify structural indicators of their diversity. Pitfall traps were used to sample spiders in Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) and ash (Fraxinus excelsior) plantations at different stages of the forest cycle and cover of vegetation, dead wood and soil organic content were measured within each site. Ordinations revealed that spider assemblages were separated by both forest development and canopy species across the forest cycle. The pre-thicket ash and spruce assemblages were similar, whereas canopy species had a greater effect in the more structurally developed stands. The mature ash plots formed a distinct group from the other stands. Overall species richness was highest in the spruce and ash pre-thicket stands, and in the mature spruce stands with a more open canopy. Mature ash stands had the lowest species richness. Lower field layer vegetation was positively correlated with total spider species richness and open habitat specialist species richness whereas canopy closure had a negative effect on these species variables. Forest spider species were positively correlated with litter cover, litter depth and twig cover. To enhance the diversity of open and forest spider species within a stand, the growth of lower field layer vegetation should be encouraged at all stages of the forest cycle, whilst retaining features typical of a mature forest.Within a plantation, a mosaic of different aged stands will sustain both open and forest specialists to enhance diversity. The distinct assemblages found in the mature plantations indicate that on a landscape scale, the establishment of both ash and spruce plantations will enhance overall diversity.

KW - Biodiversity

KW - Spider assemblages

KW - Structural indicators

KW - Sustainable forest management

KW - Forest development

KW - Plantation forest

U2 - 10.1016/j.foreco.2005.03.040

DO - 10.1016/j.foreco.2005.03.040

M3 - Article

VL - 212

SP - 171

EP - 183

JO - Forest Ecology and Management

JF - Forest Ecology and Management

SN - 0378-1127

IS - 1-3

ER -