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Purpose of ReviewThe increasing impact of droughts, wildfires and windstorms in temperate areas poses a significant challenge to the adaptation capacity of forests and their associated arthropod communities. Organisms, organic material, and environmental conditions occurring after disturbances, i.e. the disturbance legacies, shape arthropod communities during their transition from pre- to post-disturbance conditions. We describe the contribution of disturbance legacies to the organization of forest arthropod communities following droughts, wildfires, or windstorms. We also highlight how forest conditions, arthropod traits and post-disturbance management influence disturbance legacies and their impact on arthropod communities.Recent FindingsKey disturbance legacies include surviving arthropods, micro-environmental legacies, and tree- and ground-related resources. Most of these are driven by canopy openness and tree condition. For arthropods, dispersal ability and other biological and demographic traits determine their vulnerability to disturbances, but also their capacity to colonize post-disturbance microhabitats, and withstand micro-environmental legacies. Dominant tree species and management strategies influence disturbance regimes and mediate the pattern of their legacies. Droughts, wildfires and windstorms have idiosyncratic effects on disturbance legacies, and arthropod taxa can have specific responses to legacies, making it difficult to predict the likely composition of post-disturbance arthropod communities.SummaryThis review highlights a particular gap in our understanding of the effects of drought on forest arthropod communities and the need for more research in this area. In addition, a better understanding of how forest arthropod communities are altered by changes in disturbance regimes is urgently needed. Our goal is to foster an improved understanding of the role of disturbance legacies for forest arthropod communities in order to improve management decisions and promote the conservation of forest arthropod species.
Current Forestry Reports – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 1, 2023
Keywords: Drought; Wildfire; Windstorm; Forest management; Microclimate; Trophic resources
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