Journal of Insect Conservation

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 119–127 | Cite as

The role of the understory on the abundance, movement and survival of Ceroglossus chilensis in pine plantations: an experimental test

  • Yendery Cerda
  • Audrey A. Grez
  • Javier A. Simonetti


Tree plantations may play a role in the conservation of global forest biodiversity. At the landscape scale, plantations with a complex understory may provide surrogate habitats for forest-dwelling organisms. This was tested using a manipulative experiment in which the abundance, movement and survivorship of Ceroglossus chilensis (an endemic and flightless ground beetle) was examined in plantation forest stands where the density of the understory vegetation was manipulated. Between 2009 and 2012, we collected C. chilensis by pitfall trapping in nineteen plots with naturally high, naturally low and experimentally removed understory cover. Beetle movement was evaluated by direct observation, and survival was quantified as the proportion of days that individuals survived in closed and open containers half-buried in the soil. C. chilensis exhibited higher abundance in plots with naturally high than with low or experimentally removed understory cover. Beetles traveled shorter distances and preferred to stay in stands with developed understory. C. chilensis had significantly higher mortality by predators in plantations with scarce understory cover. Therefore, forest plantations with a dense understory can become surrogate habitats for C. chilensis, and may contribute to the conservation of its populations.


Carabid Conservation biology Planted forest Stand management Surrogate habitat Understory removal 



This study was supported by Fondecyt 1095046 and Programa Domeyko-Biodiversidad (Iniciativa Transversal 3), Universidad de Chile. We are grateful to the Corporación Nacional Forestal and Forestal Masisa S.A. for allowing us to work on their property. Thanks are due to A. Rodríguez-San Pedro and R. Zúñiga for their field support, and two anonymous reviewers for their cogent criticisms. We are grateful to Cristián Estades for providing some of the images in Fig. 1.


  1. Berndt LA, Brockerhoff E, Jactel H (2008) Relevance of exotic pine plantations as a surrogate habitat for ground beetles (Carabidae) where native forest is rare. Biodivers Conserv 17:1171–1185CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Brady MJ, Mcalpine CA, Miller CJ, Possingham HP, Baxter GS (2009) Habitat attributes of landscape mosaics along a gradient of matrix development intensity: matrix management matters. Landsc Ecol 24:879–891CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bremer LL, Farley K (2010) Does plantation forestry restore biodiversity or create green deserts? A synthesis of the effects of land-use transitions on plant species richness. Biodivers Conserv 19:3893–3915CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brockerhoff EG, Berndt LA, Jactel H (2005) Role of exotic pine forests in the conservation of the critically endangered New Zealand ground beetle Holcaspis brevicula (Coleoptera: Carabidae). N Z J Ecol 29:37–43Google Scholar
  5. Brockerhoff EG, Jactel H, Parrota JA, Quine CP, Sayer J (2008) Plantation forests and biodiversity: oxymoron or opportunity? Biodivers Conserv 17:925–951CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brose U (2003) Bottom-up control of carabid beetle communities in early successional wetlands: mediated by vegetation structure or plant diversity? Oecologia 135:407–413CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Bustamante RO, Grez AA, Simonetti JA (2006) Efectos de la fragmentación del bosque maulino sobre la abundancia y diversidad de especies nativas. In: Grez AA, Simonetti JA, Bustamante RO (eds) Biodiversidad en ambientes fragmentados de Chile: patrones y procesos a diferentes escalas. Editorial Universitaria, Santiago, pp 83–97Google Scholar
  8. Convention on Biological Diversity (2010) Strategic plan for biodiversity 2011–2020 and the Aichi targets. Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Montreal. Accessed Dec 2014
  9. Donoso D (2011) Demografía, movimiento y diversidad genética de Ceroglossus chilensis en el bosque Maulino fragmentado. Dissertation, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, ChileGoogle Scholar
  10. Driscoll DA, Banks SC, Barton PS, Lindenmayer DB, Smith AL (2013) Conceptual domain of the matrix in fragmented landscapes. Trends Ecol Evol 28(10):605–613CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Echeverría C, Coomes D, Salas J, Rey-Benayas JM, Lara A, Newton A (2006) Rapid deforestation and fragmentation of Chilean temperate forests. Biol Conserv 130:481–494CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Estades CF, Grez AA, Simonetti JA (2012) Biodiversity in Monterey pine plantations. In: Simonetti JA, Grez AA, Estades CF (eds) Biodiversity conservation in agroforestry landscapes: challenges and opportunities. Editorial Universitaria, Santiago, pp 77–98Google Scholar
  13. Ewers RM (2008) Spatio-temporal variation in mortality rates of Mecodema spp. (Coleoptera: Carabidae) across a forest-grassland edge in New Zealand. Insect Conserv Divers 1:40–47CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fahrig L (2007) Non-optimal animal movement in human-altered landscapes. Funct Ecol 21:1003–1015CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. FAO (2010) Global Forest Resources Assessment 2010. Main Report. FAO Forestry Paper 163, Rome, pp 346Google Scholar
  16. Felton A, Knight E, Wood J, Zammit C, Lindenmayer D (2010) A meta-analysis of fauna and flora species richness and abundance in plantations and pasture lands. Biol Conserv 143:545–554CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Goodwin BJ, Fahrig L (2002) Effect of landscape structure on the movement behaviour of a specialized goldenrod beetle, Trirhabda borealis. Can J Zool 80:24–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Grez AA, Moreno PO, Elgueta M (2003) Coleópteros (Insecta, Coleoptera) epigeos asociados al bosque maulino y plantaciones de pino aledañas. Rev Chil Entomol 29:9–18Google Scholar
  19. Hartley MJ (2002) Rationale and methods for conserving biodiversity in plantation forests. For Ecol Manag 155:81–95CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hawkes C (2009) Linking movement behaviour, dispersal and population processes: is individual variation a key? J Anim Ecol 78:894–906CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Haynes KJ, Cronin JT (2006) Interpatch movement and edge effects: the role of behavioral responses to the landscape matrix. Oikos 113:43–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Henríquez P, Donoso D, Grez AA (2009) Population density, sex ratio, body size and fluctuating asymmetry of Ceroglossus chilensis (Carabidae) in the fragmented Maulino forest and surrounding pine plantations. Acta Oecol 35:811–818CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kuefler D, Hudgens B, Haddad NM, Morris WF, Thurgate N (2010) The conflicting role of matrix habitats as conduits and barriers for dispersal. Ecology 91:944–950CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Lange M, Türke M, Pašalić E, Boch S, Hessenmöller D, Müller J, Prati D, Socher SA, Fischer M, Weisser WW, Gossner MM (2014) Effects of forest management on ground-dwelling beetles (Coleoptera; Carabidae, Staphylinidae) in Central Europe are mainly mediated by changes in forest structure. For Ecol Manag 329:166–176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lindenmayer DB, Hobbs RJ (2004) Fauna conservation in Australian plantation forests—a review. Biol Conserv 119:151–168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lindenmayer DB, Wood JT, Cunningham RB, Crane M, Macgregor C, Michael D, Montague-Drake R (2009) Experimental evidence of the effects of a changed matrix on conservating biodiversity within patches of native forest in an industrial plantation landscape. Landsc Ecol 24:1091–1103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lövei G, Sunderland KD (1996) Ecology and behavior of ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae). Annu Rev Entomol 41:231–256CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Marascuilo LA (1966) Large-sample multiple comparisons. Psychol Bull 65:280–290CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Melbourne BA (1999) Bias in the effect of habitat structure on pitfall traps: an experimental evaluation. Aust J Ecol 24:228–239CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Nahuelhual L, Carmona A, Lara A, Echeverría C, González ME (2012) Land-cover change to forest plantations: proximate causes and implications for the landscape in south-central Chile. Landsc Urban Plan 107:12–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Nájera A, Simonetti JA (2010) Can oil palm plantations become bird friendly? Agrofor Syst 80:203–209CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Niemelä J, Koivula M, Kotze DJ (2007) The effects of forestry on carabid beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) in boreal forests. J Insect Conserv 11:5–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Oxbrough A, Irwin S, Kelly TC, O’Halloran J (2010) Ground-dwelling invertebrates in reforested conifer plantations. For Ecol Manag 259:2111–2121CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Pawson S, Brockerhoff E, Meenken E, Didham R (2008) Non-native plantation forests as alternative habitat for native forest beetles in a heavily modified landscape. Biodivers Conserv 17:1127–1148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Poch T, Simonetti JA (2013) Insectivory in Pinus radiata plantations with different degree of structural complexity. For Ecol Manag 304:132–136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Prevedello JA, Vieira MV (2010) Does the type of matrix matter? A quantitative review of the evidence. Biodivers Conserv 19:1205–1223CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Saura S, Martín-Queller E, Hunter ML Jr (2014) Forest landscape change and biodiversity conservation. In: Azevedo JC, Perera AH, Pinto MA (eds) Forest landscapes and global change: 167 challenges for research and management. Springer, New York, pp 167–198CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Silva-Rodríguez EA, Ortega-Solís GR, Jiménez JE (2010) Conservation and ecological implications of the use of space by chilla foxes and free-ranging dogs in a human-dominated landscape in southern Chile. Aust Ecol 35:765–777CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Simonetti JA, Grez AA, Estades CF (2012) Biodiversity conservation in agroforestry landscapes: challenges and opportunities. Editorial Universitaria, SantiagoGoogle Scholar
  40. Simonetti JA, Grez AA, Estades CF (2013) Providind habitat for native mammals through understory enhancement in forestry plantations. Conserv Biol 27:1117–1121PubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Spellerberg IF, Sawyer JWD (1995) Multiple-use, biological diversity and standards. N Z J For 39:21–25Google Scholar
  42. Sweaney N, Lindenmayer DB, Driscoll DA (2014) Is the matrix important to butterflies in fragmented landscapes? J Insect Conserv 18:283–294CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. van Halder I, Barbaro L, Corcket E, Jactel H (2008) Importance of semi-natural habitats for the conservation of butterfly communities in landscapes dominated by pine plantations. Biodivers Conserv 17:1149–1169CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Vergara PM, Simonetti JA (2004) Does nest site cover reduce nest predation upon rhynocriptids? J Field Ornithol 75:188–191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Zar JH (2010) Biostatistical analysis, 5th edn. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle RiverGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yendery Cerda
    • 1
  • Audrey A. Grez
    • 1
  • Javier A. Simonetti
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratorio de Ecología de Ambientes Fragmentados, Facultad de Ciencias Veterinarias y PecuariasUniversidad de ChileSantiagoChile
  2. 2.Laboratorio de Conservación Biológica, Facultad de CienciasUniversidad de ChileSantiagoChile

Personalised recommendations