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Oecologia. 2015 Feb;177(2):533-44. doi: 10.1007/s00442-014-3111-7. Epub 2014 Oct 17.

Biotic homogenization and differentiation of soil faunal communities in the production forest landscape: taxonomic and functional perspectives.

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Graduate School of Environment and Information Sciences, Yokohama National University, 79-7 Tokiwadai, Hodogaya, Yokohama, Kanagawa, 240-8501, Japan,


Biotic homogenization has been reported worldwide. Although simplification of communities across space is often significant at larger scales, it could also occur at the local scale by changing biotic interactions. This study aimed to elucidate local community processes driving biotic homogenization of soil faunal communities, and the possibility of biotic re-differentiation. We recorded species of oribatid mites in litter and soil layers along a gradient of forest conversion from monoculture larch plantation to primary forests in central Japan. We collected data for functional traits of the recorded species to quantify functional diversity. Then we quantified their taxonomic/functional turnover. Litter diversity was reduced in the larch-dominated stands, leading to habitat homogenization. Consequently, litter communities were biologically homogenized and differentiated in the plantations and in the natural forest, respectively. Turnover of functional traits for litter communities was lower and higher than expected by chance in the plantations and in the natural stand, respectively. This result suggests that the dominant assembly process shifts from limiting similarity to habitat filtering along the forest restoration gradient. However, support for such niche-based explanations was not observed for communities in the soil layer. In the monocultures, functional diversity expected from a given regional species pool significantly decreased for litter communities but not for those in the soil layer. Such discrepancy between communities in different layers suggests that communities more exposed to anthropogenic stresses are more vulnerable to the loss of their functional roles. Our study explains possible community processes behind the observed patterns of biological organization, which can be potentially useful in guiding approaches for restoring biodiversity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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