Leaf-litter Entomofauna as a Parameter to Evaluate Areas Under Ecological Restoration
Sandra Ciriaco de Cristo; Marcelo Diniz Vitorino; Taise Cristina Plattau Arenhardt; Guilherme Alan Klunk; Eduardo Adenesky Filho; Acacio Geraldo de Carvalho
The use of insects as biological indicators has been suggested as an effective way to investigate the extent in which the Atlantic Forest Biome is being affected by anthropic activities (
In this way, the characterization of the leaf-litter entomofauna during the ecosystem restoration process carried out using different nucleation techniques is a proposal that requires the knowledge of parameters to facilitate the interpretation and evaluation of restoration in areas of the “Serra do Itajaí” National Park, state of Santa Catarina. Thus, the hypothesis of this work was that the leaf-litter entomofauna composition is influenced by vegetal richness and by the nucleation techniques used. This study aimed to characterize the leaf-litter entomofauna present in a forest at an advanced successional stage using ecological indexes as parameters and to compare it to areas under ecological restoration process to determine bioindicator groups.
The vegetation characterization in the different areas under study was performed through a phytosociological survey. For this, the quadrant method was used in the initial regeneration, soil roughness and artificial perch techniques according to
The soil roughness technique was applied in a pasture area with 2 hectares and consisted in the creation of relief concavities that increase the micro-habitat variability (
The nucleation technique of artificial perches was applied in 12-hectare areas of steep pasture. Each perch was made with eucalyptus struts of 3.5 meters in length, buried 0.5 meters into the ground. Bamboos of 1.5 meters in length were introduced at the top, which serve as branches for the landing of birds. Twenty perches per hectare were randomly installed, totaling 240 nucleation points.
The brushwood transposition technique was applied in a 2-hectare pasture area and consisted of the installation of modules composed of plant remains that form nuclei, serving as shelter, nests or for feeding for several species of animals, also forming favorable environments for insect decomposers (
Comparing native forest with the other areas, it is clear that the reference is more likely to present more complex leaf-litter system and conditions to shelter different groups of organisms due to the abundance and richness of trees. The rarity forms found in this area show all characteristics used to determine rarity forms such as eurytopic species (wide geographic distribution), stenotopic species (restricted geographic distribution), euryoecious species (various types of habitats), stenoecious species (unique habitat), species with locally abundant populations, locally scarce species and species present only in a single sample. The rarity forms proposed by
The initial regeneration areas present a total number of very small species (n=16) compared with the native forest, but the ecological group of pioneers (
|Areas||Number of Tree Species||Ecological Groups (%)||Rarity Forms (%)|
|Pioneer||Shade tolerant||Light demander||ND||Common||r1||r2||r3||r4||r5||r6||r7||ND|
Areas sampled with the artificial perches technique presented a total of 15 species from which the ecological group of pioneers were the densest, with 4 species standing out due to their high density: Vernonanthura discolor (Common), Piptocarpha regnellii (rarity form 7), Myrsine coriacea (Common) and Piptocarpha axillaris (Common). This area presents some similarities with initial regeneration areas such as the presence of high-density species, total number of species sampled and the presence of light demanding species. The same behavior was observed in areas with soil roughness, showing a total of 18 species and the ecological group of pioneers with 4 species standing out in terms of density: V. discolor (Common), P. regnellii (rarity form 7), Baccharis sp. (Common) and M. coriacea (Common).
Areas sampled with brushwood presented herbaceous species only, 100% pioneers, with the Poaceae family dominating the environment cover, with the presence of sparse Asteraceae and Cyperaceae individuals, the latter family being conditioned to humid lowland environments (hydromorphic soils). The main genera were Urochloa sp. (Poaceae), Baccharis sp., Senecio sp. (Asteraceae) and Cyperus sp. (Cyperaceae).
Among sampled areas, the forest environment presented the highest richness, presenting 40 taxonomic groups, followed by the initial regeneration environment with 38 taxonomic groups. In areas with nucleation techniques, soil roughness was the richest with 34 groups, followed by artificial perches (n = 31) and transposition of brushwood (n = 21). The statistical analysis showed significant difference in the frequencies of taxa collected in the study areas (
Total of individuals
Groups classified as constant and dominant in all environments were Formicidae family and Diptera order, but both were not evaluated in this study due to the high number of different types of functional groups present in these groups and the need for taxonomic identification at specific level. The Coleoptera Ptiliidae family showed high abundance in forest areas and initial regeneration, similarly to Scolytinae sub-familiy and Staphylinidae family in relation to areas under restoration with nucleation techniques.
The proportional evaluation of the presence of each taxa in relation to the sample areas (
The area where the soil roughness technique was applied among the restoration techniques was the richest (n = 37), and among the main groups of relative abundance (
In pasture environments, the taxonomic richness is usually low due to the high disturbance observed in these environments and the low plant diversity directly influences this parameter. In this case, it is not possible to affirm if the relative abundance of the Ptiliidae family in this area would be a consequence of the nucleation technique or the influence of the fragment present in the border of the area. To clarify, the analysis of the other groups shows that the area, although with presence of rare tree species and varied ecological groups, showed entomofauna components characteristic of areas with the presence of grasses and herbaceous species, such as the Cicadellidae, Cercopidae and Aphididae families, showing that the area does not yet have characteristics of vegetal structure sufficient to attract Ptiliidae individuals and, therefore, their presence was due to the influence of the nearby forest fragment.
Insects of the Scolytinae sub-family were frequent, dominant and constant only on native forest environment and in the initial regeneration phase. In forest areas, the relative abundance was 12.2% and the higher frequency occurred in the spring 2014. These insects did not significantly correlate with any meteorological variable tested. The forest was the environment with the highest concentration of insects of this subfamily (
Statistical analysis (
Beetles of the Scarabaeidae family were constant only in the forest environment, but with low relative abundance of 1.01%; in the initial regeneration, they were classified as accessories presenting relative abundance of 1.04% and classified as accidental in areas submitted to artificial perch techniques, not being sampled in areas of roughness and brushwood (
Individuals of the Cicadellidae family were constant in all areas, except in native forest areas, where they were classified as accessories, with relative abundance of 0.1%. These insects were dominant in areas with brushwood transposition and soil roughness techniques, with relative abundance of 4.0 and 4.6%, respectively. The highest frequency occurred in the spring 2014, in both areas, with significant difference between the area of brushwood transposition and all other areas (
The entomofauna identification at family level shows potential to be used for the determination of bioindicators.
Native forest areas significantly differed from areas under restoration process in terms of abundance of individuals captured and the entomofauna composition, serving as parameters for future comparisons.
The Ptiliidae and Staphylinidae families were considered as bioindicators of the environmental quality for native forest areas located at “Faxinal do Bepe” - PNSI.
Climatic variables temperature, precipitation and relative humidity did not significantly influence the presence of groups considered to be bioindicators.
Areas under restoration presented entomofauna typical of anthropic areas.
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