Entomologica Fennica

Abstracts of Volume 17 Number 3, 2006

Cole, L. J., Pollock, M. L., Robertson, D., Holland, J. P. & McCracken, D. I. 2006: Carabid (Coleoptera) assemblages in the Scottish uplands: the influence of sheep grazing on ecological structure. Entomol. Fennica 17: 229240.

As a result of the European Community Common Agricultural Policy reform in 2005 it is predicted that livestock grazing in the Scottish uplands will become less intensive. At each of two upland research centres, two large (>40ha) plots were established to investigate the relationship between grazing intensity in the Scottish uplands and biodiversity. One plot was grazed intensively by sheep while the other was grazed extensively. Ground beetles were sampled by pitfall trapping to determine the influence of grazing pressure on the ecological make-up of ground beetle assemblages. Grazing intensity did not significantly influence carabid diversity. However, grazing intensity, altitude and moisture did influence the carabid ecological assemblage structure at both locations. Large flightless Carabus species were more abundant in extensively managed plots than intensively managed plots at both locations. It is likely that these long-living, relatively immobile beetles were favoured by the greater stability of the vegetation structure in the extensively grazed plots. Monitoring the ecological assemblage structure provides a more sensitive approach than diversity indices when comparing the impact of grazing and agricultural management but is also robust enough to allow direct comparisons between different geographical locations.

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