Leaf litter arthropods are important components of all forest ecosystems, serving as predators, detritivores, herbivores, as well as food for higher trophic levels. Some groups, such as ground beetles (Carabidae), spiders (Araneae), and ants (Formicidae) have been studied extensively and have been shown to have variable responses to disturbances such as fire and timber harvesting. The abundance and diversity of these taxa make them valuable as indicators of forest health. We performed a pre-treatment survey in the summer of 2001 and 2002 on these taxa at Blodgett Forest using pitfall traps. Three-hundred pitfall traps were placed in 12 forest compartments that, in subsequent years, will experience one of four treatments: prescribed burning, mechanical treatments (timber harvesting and mastication), mechanical followed by burning treatments, or control. Five traps were placed within each of 5 randomly selected plots in each of the 12 compartments. Insects were collected in propylene glycol over the course of five days each month, from June through September. Initial results show a high abundance and diversity of Tenebrionid beetles, Carabid beetles, ants, and spiders. We will focus our monitoring effort on these groups for post-treatment responses. Additionally, correlations with the abundance and diversity of these taxa with vegetation cover, volume of large woody debris, and various soil characteristics will be examined pre- and post-treatment.
Keywords: leaf litter invertebrates, pitfall trapping
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