The initial effects of afforestation on the ground-dwelling spider fauna of Irish peatlands and grasslands

Anne Oxbrough, Tom Gittings, John O'Halloran, Paul S Giller, Thomas C Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Across Europe, the majority of afforestation is carried out on former agricultural land. Given this current planting trend it is important to assess the impact that afforestation will have on the flora and fauna of habitats typically used for afforestation. The study aim was to investigate the initial effects of afforestation (5 years after planting) on the ground-dwelling spider fauna within three habitats (peatlands, improved grasslands and wet grasslands) in Ireland. A paired sampling approach was used where 24 pairs of unplanted and planted sites (eight within each habitat type) were matched for habitat, vegetation type, soil properties, and geographical location. The planted sites were comprised of 5-year-old stands of Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis).Within each habitat pitfall traps were established in areas of vegetation cover representative of the site as a whole, as well as in supplementary features which may also contribute to the biodiversity of a site, for instance in hedgerows, wet flushes, and the edges of ditches or streams. During the study 33,157 spiders were collected in 189 species and 18 families. Forty species sampled were associated with open habitats whereas 15 species were associated with forested habitats, 54 species were associated with wet habitats whereas two species were associated with dry habitats. Across the habitats fewer wet-associated species and fewer rare species were supported after afforestation. In particular areas of wet flush in the peatlands supported a unique and diverse spider fauna which was lost after afforestation. In contrast, the planted improved grasslands were more species rich, and supported a greater number of spider species associated with low vegetation than comparable unplanted sites. The hedgerow spider fauna did not differ notably in assemblage composition between the unplanted and planted sites. This study suggests that even in the early stages of the forest cycle (first 5 years) there is a change in the spider fauna, with the rare or specialist species being replaced by habitat generalists or species associated with forested habitats. It is also suggested that peatlands are particularly sensitive to afforestation, indicating that in terms of biodiversity loss, this habitat is the least suitable for afforestation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)478-491
JournalForest Ecology and Management
Volume237
Issue number1-3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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afforestation
peatlands
peatland
spider
Araneae
grasslands
grassland
fauna
habitat
habitats
hedgerow
Picea sitchensis
effect
dwelling
planting
biodiversity
pitfall trap
pitfall traps
Geographical Locations
rare species

Keywords

  • Spiders
  • Afforestation
  • Sitka spruce
  • Peatland
  • Grassland
  • Habitat specialists

Cite this

Oxbrough, Anne ; Gittings, Tom ; O'Halloran, John ; Giller, Paul S ; Kelly, Thomas C. / The initial effects of afforestation on the ground-dwelling spider fauna of Irish peatlands and grasslands. In: Forest Ecology and Management. 2006 ; Vol. 237, No. 1-3. pp. 478-491.
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title = "The initial effects of afforestation on the ground-dwelling spider fauna of Irish peatlands and grasslands",
abstract = "Across Europe, the majority of afforestation is carried out on former agricultural land. Given this current planting trend it is important to assess the impact that afforestation will have on the flora and fauna of habitats typically used for afforestation. The study aim was to investigate the initial effects of afforestation (5 years after planting) on the ground-dwelling spider fauna within three habitats (peatlands, improved grasslands and wet grasslands) in Ireland. A paired sampling approach was used where 24 pairs of unplanted and planted sites (eight within each habitat type) were matched for habitat, vegetation type, soil properties, and geographical location. The planted sites were comprised of 5-year-old stands of Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis).Within each habitat pitfall traps were established in areas of vegetation cover representative of the site as a whole, as well as in supplementary features which may also contribute to the biodiversity of a site, for instance in hedgerows, wet flushes, and the edges of ditches or streams. During the study 33,157 spiders were collected in 189 species and 18 families. Forty species sampled were associated with open habitats whereas 15 species were associated with forested habitats, 54 species were associated with wet habitats whereas two species were associated with dry habitats. Across the habitats fewer wet-associated species and fewer rare species were supported after afforestation. In particular areas of wet flush in the peatlands supported a unique and diverse spider fauna which was lost after afforestation. In contrast, the planted improved grasslands were more species rich, and supported a greater number of spider species associated with low vegetation than comparable unplanted sites. The hedgerow spider fauna did not differ notably in assemblage composition between the unplanted and planted sites. This study suggests that even in the early stages of the forest cycle (first 5 years) there is a change in the spider fauna, with the rare or specialist species being replaced by habitat generalists or species associated with forested habitats. It is also suggested that peatlands are particularly sensitive to afforestation, indicating that in terms of biodiversity loss, this habitat is the least suitable for afforestation.",
keywords = "Spiders, Afforestation, Sitka spruce, Peatland, Grassland, Habitat specialists",
author = "Anne Oxbrough and Tom Gittings and John O'Halloran and Giller, {Paul S} and Kelly, {Thomas C}",
note = "Allan, D.G., Harrison, J.A., Navarro, R., van Wilgen, B.W., Thompson, M.W., 1997. The impact of commercial afforestation on bird populations in Mpumalanga Province South Africa—insights from bird-atlas data. Biol. Conserv. 79, 173–185. Barnett, P.R., Whittingham, M.J., Bradbury, R.B., Wilson, J.D., 2004. Use of unimproved and improved lowland grassland by wintering birds in the UK. Agric. Ecosyst. Environ. 102, 49–60. Bellot, J., Maestre, F.T., Chirino, E., Hernandez, N., de Urbina, J.O., 2004. Afforestation with Pinus halepensis reduces native shrub performance in a Mediterranean semiarid area. Acta Oecol. 25, 7–15. Berger, T.W., Neubauer, C., Glatzel, G., 2002. Factors controlling soil carbon and nitrogen stores in pure stands of Norway spruce (Picea abies) and mixed species stands in Austria. For. Ecol. Manage. 159, 3–14. Berger, W.H., Parker, F.L., 1970. Diversity of planktibuc Foraminifera in deep sea sediments. Science 168, 1345–1347. Bratton, J.H., 1991. British Red Data Books 3: Invertebrates Other Than Insects. Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Peterborough. Brennan, K., 2003. The successional response of spider communities following the multiple disturbances of mining and burning in Western Australian Jarrah forest. Aust. J. Entomol. 42, 379–380. Cawley, M., 2001. Distribution records for uncommon spiders (Araneae) including five species new to Ireland. Bull. Irish Biogeogr. Soc. 25, 135–143. Cole, L., McCracken, D., Downie, I.S., Dennis, P., Foster, G., Waterhouse, T., Murhpy,K.,Griffin,A.,Kennedy, M., 2003. Comparing the effects of farming practices on ground beetle (Coleoptera: Carabidae) and spider (Araneae) assemblages of Scottish farmland. Biodivers. Conserv. 14, 441–460. Dennis, P., Young, M.R., Gordon, I., 1998. Distribution and abundance of small insects and arachnids in relation to structural heterogeneity of grazed, indigenous grasslands. Ecol. Entomol. 23, 253–264. Dennis, P., Young, M.R., Bentley, C., 2001. The effect of varied grazing management on epigeal spiders, harvestmen and psuedoscorpions of Nardus stricta grassland in upland Scotland. Agric. Ecosyst. Environ. 86, 39–57. Fahy, O., Gormally, M., 2003. Two additions to the Irish spider fauna (Araneae, Linyphiidae):Walckenaeria dysderoides (Wider, 1834) and Agyneta ramosa (Jackson, 1912). Irish Nat. J. 27, 318–319. Farley, K.A., Kelly, E.F., 2004. Effects of afforestation of a paramo grassland on soil nutrient status. For. Ecol. Manage. 195, 281–290. Forest Service, 2000a. Forest Biodiversity Guidelines. Department of Marine and Natural Resources, Dublin. Forest Service, 2000b. Forestry and Water Quality Guidelines. Forest Service, Department of the Marine and Natural Resources, Dublin. Forest Service, 2003. Forestry Schemes Manual. Department of the Marine and Natural Resources, Dublin. Fossitt, J., 2000. A Guide to Habitats in Ireland. The Heritage Council, Dublin. French, L., 2005. Ground Flora Communities in Ireland’s Plantation Forests: Their Diversity, Structure and Composition. PhD Thesis. Department of Botany, Trinity College, Dublin. Green, R., 1979. Sampling Design and Statistical Methods for Environmental Biologists. Wiley Interscience, Chichester. Grimshaw, H.M., 1989. Analysis of soils. In: Grimshaw, H.M. (Ed.), Chemical Analysis of Ecological Materials. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford, pp. 14–16. Harvey, P., Nellist, D., Telfer, M., 2002. Provisional Atlas of British Spiders (Arachnida, Araneae), vol. 1–2. Biological Records Centre, Huntingdon. 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. Jukes, M.R., Peace, A.J., 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. Kladivko, E.J., Akhouri, N.M., Weesies, G., 1997. Earthworm populations and species distributions under no-till and conventional tillage in Indiana and Illinois. Soil Biol. Biochem. 29, 613–615. Melbourne, B., 1999. Bias in the effect of habitat structure on pitfall traps: an experimental evaluation. Aust. J. Ecol. 24, 228–239. McCune, B., Mefford, M., 1997. PC-ORD for Windows. Version 3.17. MJM Software, Oregon. McFerran, D., 1997. Northern Ireland Species Inventory Spiders (Arachnida). Queens University Belfast, Belfast. Mueller-Dombois, D., Ellenberg, H., 1974. Aims and Methods of Vegetation Ecology. Wiley and Sons, New York. Nolan, M., 2000a. A provisional list of spiders (Araneae) from Lesley Gibson’s survey (1979–1982) of Carnsore point, Co. Wexford, including one new species to Ireland, Maro Minutus (O. P.-Cambridge, 1906) (Linyphiidae). Irish Nat. J. 24, 159–167. Nolan, M., 2000b. Three spiders (Araneae) new to Ireland: Bolyphantes alticeps, Oonops domesticus and Steatoda nobilis. Irish Nat. J. 26, 200–202. Nolan, M., 2002a. Spiders (Araneae) of montane blanket bog in county Wicklow, Ireland. Bull. Irish Biogeogr. Soc. 26, 39–59. Nolan, M., 2002b. Uncommonly recorded spiders (Araneae) from Ireland, including one new species to the country. Bull. Irish Biogeogr. Soc. 26, 154–160. Oxbrough, A., Gittings, T., O’Halloran, J., Giller, P.S., Smith, G.F., 2005. Structural indicators of spider communities across the forest plantation cycle. For. Ecol. Manage. 212, 171–183. Pollard, E., 1968. Hedges IV. A comparison of Carabidae of a hedge and field site and those of a woodland glade. J. Appl. Ecol. 7, 549–557. Richter, C., 1970. Aerial dispersal in relation to habitat in eight wolf spider species (Pardosa: Araneae: Lycosidae). Oecologia 5, 200–214. Roberts, M.J., 1993. The Spiders of Great Britain and Ireland. Part One. Harley Books, Colchester. Smith, C., 1999. Oonops domesticus (de Dalmas) new to Ireland, but unconfirmed as a native species (Araneae: Oonopidae). Irish Nat. J. 26, 127–128. Snazell, R., Jonsson, L., 1999. Neon Robustus Lohmander (Araneae: Salticidae), a fennoscandian spider found in Scotland and Ireland. Bull. Br. Arach. Soc. 11, 251–254. SPSS, 2002. SPSS for Windows, Version 11.0. SPSS, Chicago. Teagasc: Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority, 2005. http:// teagasc.ie/. Carlow, Ireland. 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. UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe), 2003. State of Europe’s Forests 2003: The MCPFE’s Report on Sustainable Forest Management in Europe. 4th Ministerial conference on the protection of forests in Europe. MCPFE Liason Unit, Vienna. Usher, M., 1992. Management and diversity of arthropods in Calluna heathland. Biodivers. Conserv. 1, 63–79. van Helsdingen, P., 1996. The spider fauna of some Irish flood plains. Irish Nat. J. 25, 285–293. van Helsdingen, P., 1997. The spiders (Araneida) of Pollardstown Fen, Co. Kildare, Ireland. Irish Nat. J. 25, 396–404. Wallace, H., Good, J., 1995. Effects of afforestation on upland plant communities and implications for vegetation management. For. Ecol. Manage. 79, 29–46. Wulf, M., 2004. Plant species richness of afforestations with different former use and habitat continuity. For. Ecol. Manage. 195, 191–204.",
year = "2006",
doi = "10.1016/j.foreco.2006.09.070",
language = "English",
volume = "237",
pages = "478--491",
journal = "Forest Ecology and Management",
issn = "0378-1127",
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number = "1-3",

}

The initial effects of afforestation on the ground-dwelling spider fauna of Irish peatlands and grasslands. / Oxbrough, Anne; Gittings, Tom; O'Halloran, John; Giller, Paul S; Kelly, Thomas C.

In: Forest Ecology and Management, Vol. 237, No. 1-3, 2006, p. 478-491.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - The initial effects of afforestation on the ground-dwelling spider fauna of Irish peatlands and grasslands

AU - Oxbrough, Anne

AU - Gittings, Tom

AU - O'Halloran, John

AU - Giller, Paul S

AU - Kelly, Thomas C

N1 - Allan, D.G., Harrison, J.A., Navarro, R., van Wilgen, B.W., Thompson, M.W., 1997. The impact of commercial afforestation on bird populations in Mpumalanga Province South Africa—insights from bird-atlas data. Biol. Conserv. 79, 173–185. Barnett, P.R., Whittingham, M.J., Bradbury, R.B., Wilson, J.D., 2004. Use of unimproved and improved lowland grassland by wintering birds in the UK. Agric. Ecosyst. Environ. 102, 49–60. Bellot, J., Maestre, F.T., Chirino, E., Hernandez, N., de Urbina, J.O., 2004. Afforestation with Pinus halepensis reduces native shrub performance in a Mediterranean semiarid area. Acta Oecol. 25, 7–15. Berger, T.W., Neubauer, C., Glatzel, G., 2002. Factors controlling soil carbon and nitrogen stores in pure stands of Norway spruce (Picea abies) and mixed species stands in Austria. For. Ecol. Manage. 159, 3–14. Berger, W.H., Parker, F.L., 1970. Diversity of planktibuc Foraminifera in deep sea sediments. Science 168, 1345–1347. Bratton, J.H., 1991. British Red Data Books 3: Invertebrates Other Than Insects. Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Peterborough. Brennan, K., 2003. The successional response of spider communities following the multiple disturbances of mining and burning in Western Australian Jarrah forest. Aust. J. Entomol. 42, 379–380. Cawley, M., 2001. Distribution records for uncommon spiders (Araneae) including five species new to Ireland. Bull. Irish Biogeogr. Soc. 25, 135–143. Cole, L., McCracken, D., Downie, I.S., Dennis, P., Foster, G., Waterhouse, T., Murhpy,K.,Griffin,A.,Kennedy, M., 2003. Comparing the effects of farming practices on ground beetle (Coleoptera: Carabidae) and spider (Araneae) assemblages of Scottish farmland. Biodivers. Conserv. 14, 441–460. Dennis, P., Young, M.R., Gordon, I., 1998. Distribution and abundance of small insects and arachnids in relation to structural heterogeneity of grazed, indigenous grasslands. Ecol. Entomol. 23, 253–264. Dennis, P., Young, M.R., Bentley, C., 2001. The effect of varied grazing management on epigeal spiders, harvestmen and psuedoscorpions of Nardus stricta grassland in upland Scotland. Agric. Ecosyst. Environ. 86, 39–57. Fahy, O., Gormally, M., 2003. Two additions to the Irish spider fauna (Araneae, Linyphiidae):Walckenaeria dysderoides (Wider, 1834) and Agyneta ramosa (Jackson, 1912). Irish Nat. J. 27, 318–319. Farley, K.A., Kelly, E.F., 2004. Effects of afforestation of a paramo grassland on soil nutrient status. For. Ecol. Manage. 195, 281–290. Forest Service, 2000a. Forest Biodiversity Guidelines. Department of Marine and Natural Resources, Dublin. Forest Service, 2000b. Forestry and Water Quality Guidelines. Forest Service, Department of the Marine and Natural Resources, Dublin. Forest Service, 2003. Forestry Schemes Manual. Department of the Marine and Natural Resources, Dublin. Fossitt, J., 2000. A Guide to Habitats in Ireland. The Heritage Council, Dublin. French, L., 2005. Ground Flora Communities in Ireland’s Plantation Forests: Their Diversity, Structure and Composition. PhD Thesis. Department of Botany, Trinity College, Dublin. Green, R., 1979. Sampling Design and Statistical Methods for Environmental Biologists. Wiley Interscience, Chichester. Grimshaw, H.M., 1989. Analysis of soils. In: Grimshaw, H.M. (Ed.), Chemical Analysis of Ecological Materials. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford, pp. 14–16. Harvey, P., Nellist, D., Telfer, M., 2002. Provisional Atlas of British Spiders (Arachnida, Araneae), vol. 1–2. Biological Records Centre, Huntingdon. 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. Jukes, M.R., Peace, A.J., 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. Kladivko, E.J., Akhouri, N.M., Weesies, G., 1997. Earthworm populations and species distributions under no-till and conventional tillage in Indiana and Illinois. Soil Biol. Biochem. 29, 613–615. Melbourne, B., 1999. Bias in the effect of habitat structure on pitfall traps: an experimental evaluation. Aust. J. Ecol. 24, 228–239. McCune, B., Mefford, M., 1997. PC-ORD for Windows. Version 3.17. MJM Software, Oregon. McFerran, D., 1997. Northern Ireland Species Inventory Spiders (Arachnida). Queens University Belfast, Belfast. Mueller-Dombois, D., Ellenberg, H., 1974. Aims and Methods of Vegetation Ecology. Wiley and Sons, New York. Nolan, M., 2000a. A provisional list of spiders (Araneae) from Lesley Gibson’s survey (1979–1982) of Carnsore point, Co. Wexford, including one new species to Ireland, Maro Minutus (O. P.-Cambridge, 1906) (Linyphiidae). Irish Nat. J. 24, 159–167. Nolan, M., 2000b. Three spiders (Araneae) new to Ireland: Bolyphantes alticeps, Oonops domesticus and Steatoda nobilis. Irish Nat. J. 26, 200–202. Nolan, M., 2002a. Spiders (Araneae) of montane blanket bog in county Wicklow, Ireland. Bull. Irish Biogeogr. Soc. 26, 39–59. Nolan, M., 2002b. Uncommonly recorded spiders (Araneae) from Ireland, including one new species to the country. Bull. Irish Biogeogr. Soc. 26, 154–160. Oxbrough, A., Gittings, T., O’Halloran, J., Giller, P.S., Smith, G.F., 2005. Structural indicators of spider communities across the forest plantation cycle. For. Ecol. Manage. 212, 171–183. Pollard, E., 1968. Hedges IV. A comparison of Carabidae of a hedge and field site and those of a woodland glade. J. Appl. Ecol. 7, 549–557. Richter, C., 1970. Aerial dispersal in relation to habitat in eight wolf spider species (Pardosa: Araneae: Lycosidae). Oecologia 5, 200–214. Roberts, M.J., 1993. The Spiders of Great Britain and Ireland. Part One. Harley Books, Colchester. Smith, C., 1999. Oonops domesticus (de Dalmas) new to Ireland, but unconfirmed as a native species (Araneae: Oonopidae). Irish Nat. J. 26, 127–128. Snazell, R., Jonsson, L., 1999. Neon Robustus Lohmander (Araneae: Salticidae), a fennoscandian spider found in Scotland and Ireland. Bull. Br. Arach. Soc. 11, 251–254. SPSS, 2002. SPSS for Windows, Version 11.0. SPSS, Chicago. Teagasc: Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority, 2005. http:// teagasc.ie/. Carlow, Ireland. 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. UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe), 2003. State of Europe’s Forests 2003: The MCPFE’s Report on Sustainable Forest Management in Europe. 4th Ministerial conference on the protection of forests in Europe. MCPFE Liason Unit, Vienna. Usher, M., 1992. Management and diversity of arthropods in Calluna heathland. Biodivers. Conserv. 1, 63–79. van Helsdingen, P., 1996. The spider fauna of some Irish flood plains. Irish Nat. J. 25, 285–293. van Helsdingen, P., 1997. The spiders (Araneida) of Pollardstown Fen, Co. Kildare, Ireland. Irish Nat. J. 25, 396–404. Wallace, H., Good, J., 1995. Effects of afforestation on upland plant communities and implications for vegetation management. For. Ecol. Manage. 79, 29–46. Wulf, M., 2004. Plant species richness of afforestations with different former use and habitat continuity. For. Ecol. Manage. 195, 191–204.

PY - 2006

Y1 - 2006

N2 - Across Europe, the majority of afforestation is carried out on former agricultural land. Given this current planting trend it is important to assess the impact that afforestation will have on the flora and fauna of habitats typically used for afforestation. The study aim was to investigate the initial effects of afforestation (5 years after planting) on the ground-dwelling spider fauna within three habitats (peatlands, improved grasslands and wet grasslands) in Ireland. A paired sampling approach was used where 24 pairs of unplanted and planted sites (eight within each habitat type) were matched for habitat, vegetation type, soil properties, and geographical location. The planted sites were comprised of 5-year-old stands of Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis).Within each habitat pitfall traps were established in areas of vegetation cover representative of the site as a whole, as well as in supplementary features which may also contribute to the biodiversity of a site, for instance in hedgerows, wet flushes, and the edges of ditches or streams. During the study 33,157 spiders were collected in 189 species and 18 families. Forty species sampled were associated with open habitats whereas 15 species were associated with forested habitats, 54 species were associated with wet habitats whereas two species were associated with dry habitats. Across the habitats fewer wet-associated species and fewer rare species were supported after afforestation. In particular areas of wet flush in the peatlands supported a unique and diverse spider fauna which was lost after afforestation. In contrast, the planted improved grasslands were more species rich, and supported a greater number of spider species associated with low vegetation than comparable unplanted sites. The hedgerow spider fauna did not differ notably in assemblage composition between the unplanted and planted sites. This study suggests that even in the early stages of the forest cycle (first 5 years) there is a change in the spider fauna, with the rare or specialist species being replaced by habitat generalists or species associated with forested habitats. It is also suggested that peatlands are particularly sensitive to afforestation, indicating that in terms of biodiversity loss, this habitat is the least suitable for afforestation.

AB - Across Europe, the majority of afforestation is carried out on former agricultural land. Given this current planting trend it is important to assess the impact that afforestation will have on the flora and fauna of habitats typically used for afforestation. The study aim was to investigate the initial effects of afforestation (5 years after planting) on the ground-dwelling spider fauna within three habitats (peatlands, improved grasslands and wet grasslands) in Ireland. A paired sampling approach was used where 24 pairs of unplanted and planted sites (eight within each habitat type) were matched for habitat, vegetation type, soil properties, and geographical location. The planted sites were comprised of 5-year-old stands of Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis).Within each habitat pitfall traps were established in areas of vegetation cover representative of the site as a whole, as well as in supplementary features which may also contribute to the biodiversity of a site, for instance in hedgerows, wet flushes, and the edges of ditches or streams. During the study 33,157 spiders were collected in 189 species and 18 families. Forty species sampled were associated with open habitats whereas 15 species were associated with forested habitats, 54 species were associated with wet habitats whereas two species were associated with dry habitats. Across the habitats fewer wet-associated species and fewer rare species were supported after afforestation. In particular areas of wet flush in the peatlands supported a unique and diverse spider fauna which was lost after afforestation. In contrast, the planted improved grasslands were more species rich, and supported a greater number of spider species associated with low vegetation than comparable unplanted sites. The hedgerow spider fauna did not differ notably in assemblage composition between the unplanted and planted sites. This study suggests that even in the early stages of the forest cycle (first 5 years) there is a change in the spider fauna, with the rare or specialist species being replaced by habitat generalists or species associated with forested habitats. It is also suggested that peatlands are particularly sensitive to afforestation, indicating that in terms of biodiversity loss, this habitat is the least suitable for afforestation.

KW - Spiders

KW - Afforestation

KW - Sitka spruce

KW - Peatland

KW - Grassland

KW - Habitat specialists

U2 - 10.1016/j.foreco.2006.09.070

DO - 10.1016/j.foreco.2006.09.070

M3 - Article

VL - 237

SP - 478

EP - 491

JO - Forest Ecology and Management

JF - Forest Ecology and Management

SN - 0378-1127

IS - 1-3

ER -