3 years ago

LiDAR-derived canopy structure supports the more-individuals hypothesis for arthropod diversity in temperate forests

Martin Wagner, Bruno Cancian de Araujo, Martin M. Gossner, Bernhard Förster, Simon Thorn, Stefan Schmidt, Alexander Ladas, Marco Heurich, Peter Schall, Roland Brandl, Jörg Müller, Martin Brändle, Sebastian Seibold, Mark Maraun
Despite considerable progress in the ability to measure the complex 3-D structure of forests with the improvement of remote-sensing techniques, our mechanistic understanding of how biodiversity is linked to canopy structure is still limited. Here we tested whether the increase in arthropod abundance and richness in beech forest canopies with increasing canopy complexity supports the more-individuals hypothesis or the habitat-heterogeneity hypothesis. We used fogging to collect arthropod samples from 80 standardized plots from canopies of single- to multi-layered mature montane European beech stands. Tree height and an independent measure of vertical heterogeneity – the vertical distribution ratio – on each arthropod sampling plot were derived from high-resolution full-waveform airborne laser scanning data. Mixed-model path analysis based on almost 20 000 specimens of 762 species from 11 orders provided support for the more-individuals hypothesis, with higher arthropod abundance but not higher species richness in stands with a more equal vertical distribution of plant biomass. By contrast, we found no support for the habitat-heterogeneity hypothesis. The increase in the number of individuals with increasing vertical distribution of biomass might be caused either by increasing leaf area, as indicated by higher space filling and productivity in multi-layered stands, or by higher persistence of arthropod populations owing to better shelter, reduced competition and more refuges under harsh conditions, or by both. High-resolution airborne laser scanning, with its ability to penetrate dense canopies under leaf-on conditions, has proved suitable for measuring vertical structures as a predictor for canopy diversity. Expanding combinations of remote-sensing and canopy-biodiversity data opens many avenues for improving our understanding of the link between diversity and forest structures. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1111/oik.04972

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