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The Collembola community of a Central European forest: Influence of tree species composition

European Journal of Soil Biology
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.ejsobi.2008.12.005
  • Collembola
  • Beech
  • Spruce
  • Mixed Stands
  • Fungal Biomass
  • Ground Vegetation


Abstract The present study investigates the response of the Collembola community to replacement of beech by spruce or by mixed stands of beech and spruce in the Solling mountains (Germany). The study was carried out in three beech ( Fagus sylvatica), spruce ( Picea abies) and mixed stands of beech and spruce arranged in three blocks. The density, diversity and community structure of Collembola as well as microbial and abiotic parameters in the organic layers and mineral soil of the three spruce, three beech and three mixed stands were investigated. Major results are: (i) Collembola communities did not differ strongly between stand types and were dominated by Folsomia quadrioculata and Mesaphorura species, (ii) neither total abundance of Collembola nor densities of the hemiedaphic species F. quadrioculata, Parisotoma notabilis and Isotomiella minor significantly responded to stand type, (iii) in the mixed stands the fungal biomass was increased leading to high densities of fungal feeding Collembola (e.g. Mesaphorura sp.) and high species numbers of Collembola, (iv) the density of the epedaphic and partly herbivorous group Entomobryidae/Tomoceridae in the spruce stands exceeded that in the mixed and beech stands; presumably this was due to the higher diversity of the ground vegetation in the spruce stands. Canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) of the collembolan communities of L/F and H/Ah horizons also indicated that most of the epedaphic species were associated with the spruce stands. Moreover, results of the CCA indicated that soil pH is an important structuring force for collembolan communities. Overall, results suggest that stand type impact collembolan communities, presumably via changes in the amount and quality of food resources, such as fungal biomass and living plant material. However, differences in collembolan community structure between the investigated stand types were moderate supporting earlier findings that Collembola generally respond little to changes in the vegetation structure.

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