Effects of Alpine land-use changes: Soil macrofauna community revisited
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Although soil invertebrates play a decisive role in maintaining ecosystem functioning, little is known about their structural composition in Alpine soils and how their abundances are affected by the currently ongoing land-use changes. In this study, we re-assessed the soil macrofauna community structure of managed and abandoned Alpine pastureland, which has already been evaluated 14 years earlier. Our results confirm clear shifts in the community composition after abandonment, in that (1) Chilopoda and Diplopoda were recorded almost exclusively on the abandoned sites, (2) Coleoptera larvae and Diptera larvae were more abundant on the abandoned than on the managed sites, whereas (3) Lumbricidae dominated on the managed sites. By revisiting managed and abandoned sites, we infer community patterns caused by abandonment such as changes in the epigeic earthworm community structure, and we discuss seasonal and sampling effects. Our case study improves the still limited understanding of spatio-temporal biodiversity patterns of Alpine soil communities.
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