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Environ Monit Assess. 2016 Jul;188(7):436. doi: 10.1007/s10661-016-5398-9. Epub 2016 Jun 27.

Distribution and physical traits of red wood ant mounds in a managed Rhodope mountains forest.

Author information

1
Department of Forestry and Management of the Environment and Natural Resources, Laboratory of Forest Protection, Democritus University of Thrace, School of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences, Pantazidou 193, 68 200, Orestiada, Greece. atsikas@fmenr.duth.gr.
2
Department of Forestry and Management of the Environment and Natural Resources, Laboratory of Forest Protection, Democritus University of Thrace, School of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences, Pantazidou 193, 68 200, Orestiada, Greece.
3
Department of Forestry and Management of the Environment and Natural Resources, Laboratory of Forest Genetics, Democritus University of Thrace, School of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences, Pantazidou 193, 68 200, Orestiada, Greece.

Abstract

Red wood ants (RWA) are of great ecological importance for the forest ecosystem. Forestry practices, like clear-cutting, and trampling load, due to tourism, logging, and grazing stock, can greatly affect their colonies, disturbing their microhabitat. RWA in Greek forests have not been investigated so far. We herein report on the distribution and morphological traits of Formica lugubris mounds studied in Elatia forest (Rhodope mountains, Northern Greece), an all-aged managed mixed forest where selective logging practices are performed. Nearby vegetation, slope, canopy cover, shrub density, and distance from the nearest neighboring trees were also recorded. Mound density was shown to be much higher in this Greek forest compared to RWA mounds in other European-managed forests. Furthermore, we recorded a continuous nest establishment, despite forest management disturbances and trampling load. Our study suggests that single-tree selective forestry practices are essential for creating ideal microhabitats for the RWA and, therefore, for maintaining RWA populations.

KEYWORDS:

Ant mounds; Forest management; Formica lugubris; Mound traits; Red wood ants; Rhodope mountains

PMID:
27345521
DOI:
10.1007/s10661-016-5398-9
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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