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New Harvard Forest Publication: Impacts of hemlock removal on arthropod communities

Monday, August 1, 2011
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Another article in a series of papers describing findings from the Harvard Forest long term Hemlock Removal Experiment has been published in Ecosphere. In this paper, a group of researchers including Harvard Forest Senior Researcher Aaron Ellison, and post-docs Sydne Record and Ben Baiser, look at the effects of the hemlock woolly adelgid and pre-emptive salvage logging on communities of ants, beetles, and spiders in hemlock dominated stands. Relative to intact hemlock stands, in situ death of hemlock and logging/removal of hemlock altered composition and diversity of beetles and spiders. Logging increased the number of ant species. These results suggest that the loss of hemlock could actually increase arthropod 'biodiversity' at local scales in northeastern North America. However, as hemlock forests are replaced by deciduous forests, macroarthropod assemblages will become more homogenous across the landscape, thereby reducing biodiversity at broader scales.

Sackett, T.E., S.Record, S. Bewick, B. Baiser, N.J. Sanders, and A.M. Ellison. 2011. Response of macroarthropod assemblages to the loss of hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), a foundation species. Ecosphere, Volume 2(7). 

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