Exploring the Importance of Saproxylic Beetles (Coleoptera) as Indicators of Forest Biodiversity and Available Resources in Kitchener, Ontario
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Across North America insects have generally taken a backseat to more conspicuous animals (e.g. birds, mammals) and are not regularly monitored by ecosystem managers. They commonly enter the spotlight when an insect is an invasive pest species causing significant damage, whereas less attention is given to studying the population dynamics of native species. This type of monitoring can be difficult for municipalities or conservation authorities due to economical limitations, time needed for sampling, and required taxonomic knowledge. However, this type of research needs to be incorporated into management plans in order to effectively facilitate sustainable ecosystems. Trees and forests provide unique ecosystem services and an important component of their health lies with saproxylic beetles. Relentless urban sprawl and other anthropogenic influences continue to pressure these ecosystems into new stable states, altering their function and composition. Invasive species like the emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire) and the resulting management practices put into place by managers may have effects on resident insect species that remain unknown if insect monitoring initiatives are not put into place. My study catalogues saproxylic beetles within three parks in Kitchener, Ontario for the first time to create a baseline inventory for future research and identify potential indicators of biodiversity and resources. Based on correlation analysis, cerambycidae and curculionidae (scolytinae) were identified as possible indicators of biodiversity and deadwood. Only one site was found to contain a significantly different assemblage which may be attributed to management and tree composition. Additionally, it is suggested that the high abundance of scolytines in two sites may be related to dead ash trees and woody debris resulting from EAB infestation and management, but this study did not delve further into this issue and more research is necessary. Creating a method of sharing insect sampling information between the public, managers, and researchers needs to become a reality if successful ecosystem management is expected to be achieved not only in Kitchener, but across the province.
Cite this work
Emily Trendos (2017). Exploring the Importance of Saproxylic Beetles (Coleoptera) as Indicators of Forest Biodiversity and Available Resources in Kitchener, Ontario. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/12567