Matthieu Chauvat et al.

Matthieu Chauvat Laboratoire d’Ecologie, EA 1293 ECODIV, Fédération de Recherche SCALE,
Bâtiment IRESE A, UFR Sciences et Techniques, Université de Rouen,
F-76821 Mont Saint Aignan, France;

Jean Trap

Gabriel Perez

Philippe Delporte

Michaël Aubert    


Assemblages of Collembola across a 130-year chronosequence of beech forest


Although microarthropods dominate forest floor faunas in both diversity and abundance, long-term aspects of forest cycles have been widely neglected in soil ecological research in the past. We studied which modifications occurred within collembolan assemblages during a typical beech forest cycle from the north-western part of France. We selected 16 sites representative for four age-classes: 15-year, 65-year, 90-year and 130-year-old stands. Strongly significant effects of the factor ‘age class’ reflect increasing collembolan abundance, biomass and mean species richness throughout the ageing of the forest. However, none of the species could be depicted as an indicator for a specific age class. Nevertheless, shifts in the relative abundances of dominant or subdominant species were responsible for significant differences between communities of the four successional stages. Our results differ from previous studies, highlighting on the one hand the multiplicity of factors acting on soil invertebrates, and on the other hand the need for forest management aiming at combining productivity and biodiversity conservation to adapt to regional differences in tree species, soil, substrate and climatic conditions.


Springtails, succession, forest management, soil fauna