Short-term effects of low-intensity prescribed fire on ground-dwelling invertebrates in a Canarian pine forest

C. García-Domínguez, J. R. Arévalo, L. Calvo


The effects of prescribed fire on the forest upper ground layer can have consequences for invertebrate communities. Prescribed fire is starting to be used in the Canary Islands as a tool to reduce wildfire risk, but the impacts of this management practice on the Canarian pine forest have not been investigated. The aim of this study is to explore the short-term effects of prescribed burning on the most abundant groups of ground-dwelling invertebrates. Three of six plots were randomly burn and the other three were used as controls. Pitfall trapping was used to collect the ground-dwelling invertebrates four months after burning. No differences were found in total richness, diversity, evenness and total abundance between treatments. Only Psocopteran abundance increased after fire. Litter depth, total vegetation cover and decayed wood cover were different between treatments. Canonical Correspondence Analyses (CCA) revealed differences in species composition between treatments using these environmental variables. It is concluded that the use of low-intensity prescribed burning in this stand did not have an important impact on the structural parameters of the ground-dwelling invertebrate community, but species composition changed. Care shoud be taken with valuable endemic, rare or sensible species.


prescribed burning; invertebrate community; Pinus canariensis; fire; soil ecology

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DOI: 10.5424/fs/2010191-01172