Pastoral Practices to Reverse Shrub Encroachment of Sub-Alpine Grasslands: Dung Beetles Coleoptera, Scarabaeoidea Respond More Quickly Than VegetationReportar como inadecuado




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In recent decades, pastoral abandonment has produced profound ecological changes in the Alps. In particular, the reduction in grazing has led to extensive shrub encroachment of semi-natural grasslands, which may represent a threat to open habitat biodiversity. To reverse shrub encroachment, we assessed short-term effects of two different pastoral practices on vegetation and dung beetles Coleoptera, Scarabaeoidea. Strategic placement of mineral mix supplements MMS and arrangement of temporary night camp areas TNCA for cattle were carried out during summer 2011 in the Val Troncea Natural Park, north-western Italian Alps. In 2012, one year after treatment, a reduction in shrub cover and an increase in bare ground cover around MMS sites was detected. A more intense effect was detected within TNCA through increases in forage pastoral value, and in the cover and height of the herbaceous layer. Immediately after treatment, changes in dung beetle diversity total abundance, species richness, Shannon diversity, taxonomic and functional diversity showed a limited disturbance effect caused by high cattle density. In contrast, dung beetle diversity significantly increased one year later both at MMS and TNCA sites, with a stronger effect within TNCA. Multivariate Regression Trees and associated Indicator Value analyses showed that some ecologically relevant dung beetle species preferred areas deprived of shrub vegetation. Our main conclusions are: i TNCA are more effective than MMS in terms of changes to vegetation and dung beetles, ii dung beetles respond more quickly than vegetation to pastoral practices, and iii the main driver of the rapid response by dung beetles is the removal of shrubs. The resulting increase in dung beetle abundance and diversity, which are largely responsible for grassland ecosystem functioning, may have a positive effect on meso-eutrophic grassland restoration. Shrub encroachment in the Alps may therefore be reversed, and restoration of grassland enhanced, by using appropriate pastoral practices.



Autor: Claudia Tocco , Massimiliano Probo, Michele Lonati, Giampiero Lombardi, Matteo Negro, Beatrice Nervo, Antonio Rolando, Claudia Pa

Fuente: http://plos.srce.hr/



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