GARIBALDI Lucas Alejandro
Positive outcomes between herbivore diversity and tree survival: Responses to management intensity in a Patagonian forest
NACIF, MARCOS; KITZBERGER, THOMAS; GARIBALDI, LUCAS
FOREST ECOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT
ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV
Lugar: Amsterdam; Año: 2020
Sustainable forest management aims to both enhance biodiversity and tree productivity. However, trade-offs may exist between these objectives, e.g. arthropod diversity and associated arthropod herbivory can reduce tree growth and survival. Tree productivity and biodiversity may also show non-linear responses to management intensity, making applied recommendations even more challenging. We studied the effects of harvesting intensity for firewood extraction in a northern Patagonian forest (Argentina) on leaf damage diversity (as a proxy of arthropod folivore diversity), leaf damage frequency, growth and survival of planted trees of Nothofagus obliqua for timber purpose. We randomly applied four levels of harvesting intensity (0, 30, 50, and 70% of basal area removal) in experimental plots and we followed the responses on the focal planted tree species during two growing seasons. After harvesting, air temperature and photosynthetic active radiation increased, while relative humidity decreased, with harvesting intensity. Leaf damage diversity and frequency showed non-linear responses to harvesting intensity, both achieving its highest values at intermediate harvesting intensities (30% and 50% of basal area removal). Such responses were consistent for contrasting feeding guilds, using different diversity indices, and during the two study growing seasons. Interestingly, leaf damage diversity and frequency were positively and strongly correlated across the plots. Despite great leaf damage frequency (around 45% of the leaves were dam- aged), plant survival was also highest at intermediate harvesting intensities during the two years. Planted trees also grew more at intermediate harvesting intensities during the second year, but increased linearly with harvesting intensity during the first year. Hence, at intermediate harvesting intensity, no trade-off was observed between arthropod biodiversity and planted tree sapling survival and growth. In northern Patagonia, trees may face less competition for light and soil resources at intermediate harvesting intensities, while at high harvesting intensities water stress typical of dry Patagonian summers could reduce tree survival. Such benefits were not offset by the greater leaf damage (associated with enhanced damage diversity) observed at intermediate harvesting intensities. Therefore, intermediate levels of management intensity can provide the double service of increasing arthropod diversity and maximizing tree survival and growth, especially during the most critical establishment period.