Road size and carrion beetle assemblages in a New York forest
In many parts of the world, roads are the most common causes of forest fragmentation. We know roads can affect wildlife, but understand little the extent to which these effects depend on road type and use. We compared the effects of several road types upon a diverse, carrion frequenting beetle assemblage in rural New York State. We found no consistent effects of distance from road on the diversity, abundance or species density of beetles across road types. However, forests near highways and two-lane paved roads were significantly less diverse than were forests near dirt roads. The reduced diversity of beetles near roads was at least in part due to lower species turnover in space near dirt roads than near either type of paved roads. Our data suggest that all roads are not created equal and that comparably sized minimum-use paved roads have a substantially greater affect on fauna than dirt roads. Highways and two-lane paved roads appear to depress biodiversity even among relatively vagile animals like beetles.
KeywordsRoads Carrion Burying beetles Fragmentation Diversity Turnover
Monica C. Sanchez and Nathan J. Sanders read versions of this manuscript and provided valuable comments. Katherine Pease helped with all aspects of the fieldwork. Research was supported by a grant from the Black Rock Forest Consortium to JDB and RRD.
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