Oak (Quercus spp.) forests are among the most important forest types in Turkey.
In the past, oak forests were managed through coppice clear-cutting, but
in recent decades they have mostly been converted to high forest. This study
was aimed at explaining how arthropod diversity is affected during conversion
from coppice to high oak forest and during the early stages of coppice succession.
We tested the hypothesis that arthropod richness, abundance and diversity
in coppice oak sites varied according to stand age and a number of other
forest characteristics. Arthropod communities were sampled in 50 plots using
four different methods: pitfall traps, sweep nets, sticky cards and cloth shaking.
A total of 13 084 individuals were collected and classified into 193 Recognizable
Taxonomic Units (RTUs), with the most RTUs and the greatest number
of specimens captured by sweep netting. We identified 17 taxa within RTU’s
with more than 1% of the captured arthropods, which constituted 75% of the
total specimens. The number of RTUs varied significantly according to trap
type. Arthropod richness and Shannon-Wiener biodiversity index (H′) increased
with elevation and precipitation. In young (1-40 yrs-old) and middle-aged (41-
80 yrs) stands, arthropod biodiversity was not significantly affected by stand
type, but slightly increased with diameter at breast height and tree height.
Forest characteristics, such as the litter layer, understory and crown diameter,
weakly influenced arthropod richness and abundance. Cluster analysis revealed
that stand types and trap types differed taxonomically. Principal component
analysis showed that stand types were clearly separated by the stand parameters
measured. Insect families (Formicidae, Thripidae, Lygaeidae, Dolichopodidae,
Luaxanidae, Cicadellidae and Ichneumonidae) could potentially be used as
indicators of coppice oak conditions. As the coppice oak changes to mature forest,
further studies are needed to better assess the relation between arthropods,
forest types and structural characteristics of stands.