The mite communities (Acari, Mesostigmata) in Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) forest after thinning – preliminary studies

Jacek Kamczyc, Jacek Malica, Cezary K. Urbanowski, Adrian Kobusiewicz, Joanna Skonieczna, Emilia Pers-Kamczyc


Thinning  is one of an anthropogenic process  that can disturb natural processes  in  forest habitats.  It consists of selectively cutting down trees, therefore, it is especially important to the creation of forest microhabitats for many species, including those living in the  topsoil  layer ,  such  as  mites  from  Mesostigmata  order .  The  aim  of  the  study  was  to  characterize  soil  mites  (Mesostigmata) communities  in  Scots  pine  stands  (Pinus  sylvestris  L.)  before  thinning  and  in  selected  time  intervals  (1,  5,  10,  and  20  years)  after thinning. Studies were conducted on ten (two non­thinned and eight thinned) research plots located in stands of Sulęcin Forest District (Western Poland). In total, 50 soil samples with a litter layer were taken in October 2014 using a steel corer (20 cm2, 5cm depth). Soil fauna was extracted in Berlese­Tullgren funnels for seven days.
In total, 286 mesostigmatid soil mites classified into 30 taxa (26 species and 4 genera) were recorded. The most abundant species were Paragamasus  conus  and  V eigaia  nemorensis.  Only  three  species  (Paragamasus  conus,  V eigaia  nemorensis,  and  juvenile  instars  of Paragamasus sp.) were noted in all sampled forests. The mean diversity and species richness, but not the mite density per square meter, differed significantly between studied forests. The highest mite density , diversity , as well as species richness were recorded in stands 20 years after thinning, while the lowest one year after thinning. It can be concluded that thinning reduces the mite density in a short period (one year after thinning), however , the abundance, species richness, and diversity starts to increase with forest ageing.


mite assemblages, mesofauna, forest management, soil fauna diversity , mesostigmatid mites

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