Species richness, frequency and density of litter-dwelling springtails (Collembola) were analyzed from woodland litter samples collected for 4 y, over a 12 y interval, from The East Woods of The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, Illinois. The 162 samples were divided equally between areas that had been previously burned and areas that had not been burned. There were significantly fewer springtail species in burned areas and 8 of the 10 most common species had lower frequencies in burned areas. The effect of fire varied for the 30 species identified in the study. Isotoma notabilis, Lepidocyrtus spp., Neanura muscorum and Tomocerus flavescens had a significantly higher frequency and density in unburned areas and Isotoma viridis and Xenylla grisea had a significantly higher frequency and density in burned areas. The mean dry weight of litter from 126 samples (equal number from burned and unburned areas) over 3 y was significantly heavier from the unburned areas. To maintain the richness of the litter invertebrates of forest ecosystems where prescribed burning is used, it is proposed that the scheduling of annual fires be changed to every 2 or 3 y. Before the use of fire, scattered refuge areas should also be established and maintained to enhance invertebrate survival.
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Vol. 148 • No. 2