We carried out a multi-taxa study to investigate the responses of species assemblages to stand and landscape variables in maritime pine plantation forests in the Landes de Gascogne (southwestern France). Breeding birds, carabid beetles, and ground-dwelling spiders were sampled simultaneously in a balanced set of 27 stands varying in tree species composition, age, and vertical structure. The composition and structure of surrounding landscapes were quantified within a 500-m radius around the stands. Species responses to a combination of 12 stand and landscape variables were estimated using multiple stepwise regression. Bird, carabid, and spider assemblages were related to the same explanatory variables using a set of co-inertia analyses. Tree height was the best predictive variable for all taxa at species richness, species assemblage, and individual species levels. Landscape variables were important as secondary factors, especially landscape fragmentation, spatial heterogeneity, and shape and spatial distribution of deciduous forest patches in the surrounding landscape. The occurrence of deciduous forest patches and an increasing landscape heterogeneity appeared to be beneficial to forest birds and spiders but not to carabids, probably because forest carabids are generally poor dispersers, more sensitive to habitat fragmentation.
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Vol. 12 • No. 1