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1 July 2008 Structure and conservation of lepidopteran communities in managed forests of northeastern North America: a review
Keith S. Summerville, Thomas O. Crist
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We review the existing literature on patterns of moth (Lepidoptera) species richness and community composition in northeastern Nearctic forest ecosystems across hierarchical scales ranging from individual trees to entire managed ecoregions. Moths are species-rich in northeastern forests of North America, with the most diverse families being Noctuidae and Geometridae. Individual trees and forest stands, however, are often dominated by few species. Climate, stand age, disturbance regime, and landscape heterogeneity are significant predictors of abundance of dominant species. Most other moth species in the regional pool are patchily distributed and appear to occur regularly at very low abundance. Moth communities respond predictably to forest-management practices, and the outcomes of postmanagement response are largely driven by changes in the plant community. Significant reductions in moth species richness and changes in community composition are correlated with clear-cut harvesting, whereas selective logging appears to cause more moderate changes in moth community structure. Broad-scale effects of forest fragmentation on moth communities in unglaciated regions are best described by species replacement rather than species loss; moth species richness decreases slightly across a gradient of fragment sizes, but shifts in moth community composition are more important, especially in the relative importance of herbaceous-plant-feeding species in large and small fragments. Species that appear to be most sensitive to timber management or habitat loss are dietary specialists as larvae, dispersal-limited as adults, or dependent on commercially valuable tree species such as oaks, Quercus L. (Fagaceae). Restored forest stands tend to converge in terms of lepidopteran species dominance and diversity among stands, suggesting that the long-term consequences of timber management or habitat loss include a significant reduction of regional β-diversity. Finally, future research on forest Lepidoptera should include an emphasis on understanding the role of urban woodland habitat in retaining viable and diverse moth communities and how the spatial pattern of timber harvest affects the relative magnitude of α- and β-diversity components within a given ecoregion.

Keith S. Summerville and Thomas O. Crist "Structure and conservation of lepidopteran communities in managed forests of northeastern North America: a review," The Canadian Entomologist 140(4), 475-494, (1 July 2008).
Received: 24 March 2006; Accepted: 1 August 2006; Published: 1 July 2008

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