Do landscape factors affect Brownfield carabid assemblages?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Authors

Colleges, School and Institutes

Abstract

The carabid fauna of 28 derelict sites in the West Midlands (England) were sampled over the course of one growing season (April-October, 1999). The study aimed to investigate the relationship between carabid assemblages and five measures of landscape structure pertinent to derelict habitat. At each site measurements of landscape features pertinent to derelict habitat were made: (i) the proximity of habitat corridors; (ii) the density of surrounding derelict land; (iii) the distance between the site and the rural fringe; and (iv) the size of the site. Concurrent surveys of the soil characteristics, vegetation type, and land use history were conducted. The data were analysed using a combination of ordination (DCA, RDA), variance partitioning (using pRDA) and binary linear regression. The results suggest that: 1. There is very little evidence that the carabid assemblages of derelict sites were affected by landscape structure, with assemblages instead being principally related to within-site habitat variables, such as site age (since last disturbance), substrate type and vegetation community. 2. No evidence was found to support the hypothesis that sites away from railway corridors are more impoverished in their carabid fauna than sites on corridors. 3. There are some suggestions from this study that rarer and non-flying specialist species may be affected by isolation, taking longer to reach sites. We infer from this that older sites with retarded succession, and sites in higher densities of surrounding derelict land may eventually become more species rich and that these sites may be important for maintaining populations of rarer and flightless species. 4. Conservation efforts to maintain populations of these species should focus principally on habitat quality issues, such as maintaining early successional habitats that have a diversity of seed producing annuals and perennial plants and enhancing substrate variability rather than landscape issues. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-222
Number of pages18
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume260
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2006

Keywords

  • conservation, carabidae, West Midlands, derelict, landscape ecology, URGENT, brownfield