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Influence of Roller Chopping and Prescribed Burning on Insects in Pine Flatwoods

Roller chopping and prescribed burning are treatments frequently applied to many southeastern rangeland systems, including Florida's pine flatwoods. These treatments can improve rangeland condition by reducing the cover of shrubs and promoting the growth of herbaceous species. How- ever, they have the potential to both positively and negatively affect insects, which provide important ecosystem services as pollinators and are a food source for numerous rangeland-associated avian species, some of which are of conservation concern. We compared total insect familial richness and relative abundance, and familial richness and relative abundance within five orders that contain insects important as pollinators and avian prey (i.e., Coleoptera, Diptera, Hemiptera, Hymenoptera, Lepidoptera, and Orthoptera) at sampling sites randomly located within 50 treated (i.e., dormant sea- son burn, growing season burn, dormant season roller chop, growing season roller chop, or roller chop/burn combination) and untreated (i.e., control) subplots in central and southern Florida during 2007 and 2008. Total relative abundance (P=0.017) and Hemiptera familial richness (P=0.021) and relative abundance (P = 0.002) were less in growing season burn compared to control subplots for two years post-treatment. Reductions in total insect familial richness were also observed in growing season burn compared to control subplots but only lasted for one year post-treatment (P = 0.017). Total insect familial richness (P ≤ 0.001) and relative abundance (P = 0.001), as well as familial richness and relative abundance of Diptera, Hemiptera, Hyme- noptera, or Orthoptera were also less on dormant season burn than control subplots the first-year post treatment (P ≤ 0.028). Total insect familial rich- ness (P = 0.017) and relative abundance (P = 0.032) were less in dormant season roller chop compared to control subplots for two years post-treatment, as was Hemiptera relative abundance (P = 0.052). In situations where management of certain insect orders important as pollinators and avian prey is a priority, the use of growing season roller chopping and dormant season burning may be preferred over dormant season roller chopping and growing season burning.

Author: Emma V. Willcox, William M. Giuliano | Year: 2015 | Pages: 288-295
avian prey, family, insects, pollinators, relative abundance, richness, season
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