Forest management strategy affects saproxylic beetle assemblages: A comparison of even and uneven-aged silviculture using direct and indirect sampling Academic Article uri icon


  • Management of forest for wood production has altered ecosystem structures and processes and led to habitat loss and species extinctions, worldwide. Deadwood is a key resource supporting forest biodiversity, and commonly declines following forest management. However, different forest management methods affect dead wood differently. For example, uneven-aged silviculture maintains an age-stratified forest with ongoing dead wood production, while even-aged silviculture breaks forest continuity, leading to long periods without large trees. We asked how deadwood-dependent beetles respond to different silvicultural practices and if their responses depend on deadwood volume, and beetles preference for decay stages of deadwood. We compared beetle assemblages in five boreal forest types with different management strategies: clearcutting and thinning (both representing even-aged silviculture), selective felling (representing uneven-aged silviculture), reference and old growth forest (both uneven-aged controls without a recent history [~50 years] of management, but the latter with high conservation values). We collected beetles using window traps and by sieving the bark from experimental logs (bolts). Beetle assemblages on clear-cuts differed from all other stand types, regardless of trapping method or decay stage preference. Thinning differed from reference stands, indicating incomplete recovery after clear-cutting, while selective felling differed only from clear-cuts. In contrast to our predictions, early and late successional species responded similarly to different silvicultural practices. However, there were indications of marginal assemblage differences both between thinned stands and selective felling and between thinned and old growth stands (p = 0.10). The stand volume of early decay stage wood influenced assemblage composition of early, but not late successional species. Uneven-aged silviculture maintained species assemblages similar to those of the reference and old growth stands and might therefore be a better management option when considering biodiversity conservation.

publication date

  • 2018