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The use of ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) and spiders (Araneae) as bioindicators of sustainable forest management: a review

Pearce, J.L.; Venier, L.A.

Ecological Indicators 6(4): 780-793

2006


ISSN/ISBN: 1470-160X
DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2005.03.005
Accession: 023972102

International and Canadian national and provincial level policy have proposed the use of criteria and indicators to examine the sustainability of renewable resource management. Species suitable as ecological indicators are those whose biology are sensitive to disturbance and therefore demonstrate a negative effect of management on the processes or functioning of the ecosystem. Ground dwelling invertebrates such as carabid beetles and spiders have strong potential as ecological indicators as they are readily surveyed in sufficient numbers for meaningful conclusions to be drawn, have a stable taxonomy and, at least in the case of ground beetles, are readily identified. They are good local scale indicators of ecosystem disturbance in forested landscapes at both the short and long time scales, responding to both clearcut logging and fire differently. Ground beetles and spiders in boreal Canada may not be good indicators of disturbance at landscape scales, as little response to the creation of forest edges and habitat fragmentation has so far been observed. We propose that these bioindicators be used as part of local-level validation monitoring to test hypotheses about disturbance impacts. In this way, bioindicators are used in a research setting to evaluate silvicultural practices, providing a rating of their sustainability for a given broad forest type grouping.

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