Collembola diversity in the critically endangered Cape Flats Sand Fynbos and adjacent pine plantations
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The replacement of indigenous vegetation by commercial alien plantations can strongly affect invertebrate species richness and composition. This has been demonstrated for some invertebrate taxa in the Fynbos vegetation of the Western Cape, but the response of litter-dwelling Collembola has not been documented. Here we compared the richness and abundance of litter-dwelling Collembola assemblages in Pinus radiata plantations and in adjacent rehabilitated Cape Flats Sand Fynbos (CFSF) in the Tokai Forest Reserve, Western Cape, South Africa. A total of 48 Collembola morphospecies was identified, of which 14 species were recorded exclusively from the pine plantations, and six exclusively from the CFSF. Abundance and morphospecies richness was higher in the pine plantations than in the CFSF, with 34 morphospecies found in the CFSF, and 42 morphospecies in the pine plantations. Fourteen species were likely invasive taxa, of which eight were found in CFSF, and 13 in the pine plantations. Multivariate analyses indicated significant differences in the assemblages of the two habitat types based on abundance, but using presence–absence data only, no difference was found. Significant relationships were found between springtail richness and abundance and site humidity, which differed between the CFSF (drier) and pine plantation (moister), likely accounting for the differences in richness and abundance among habitat types.
- RESEARCH: Chown S