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Impact of cutting date on carabids and spiders in a wet meadow

Abstract : The impact of different cutting dates on two dominant groups of ground-dwelling arthropods (carabids and spiders) was assessed. Short-term impacts were assessed by comparing them before and after cutting. Arthropods were collected by pitfall traps located in three plots with different cutting dates between June and August and one uncut control plot. Trapping was performed during a 4-month period in the spring and summer 2011. In total, 26,392 spiders and 12,278 carabids, representing 56 and 82 species respectively, were collected. Overall, the effects of cutting were negative and mostly visible in the long term for carabids, with reduced abundances and species richness in cut plots, and in the short-term for spiders; several parameters (proportion of predators and polyphagous species, and body length) decreased after cutting while remaining stable in the control. Long-term cutting effects revealed almost no differences between plots cut at different dates whereas the short-term effects decreased slightly over time, with respect to the overall phenology of both groups. In conclusion, this study underlines the fact that cutting has drastic effects on ground-dwelling arthropods, and even late dates, which are supposedly positive for other animals like breeding birds, are deleterious for highly diverse and species-rich grassland groups.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, May 13, 2014 - 5:02:54 PM
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Denis Lafage, Julien Petillon. Impact of cutting date on carabids and spiders in a wet meadow. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, Elsevier Masson, 2014, 185, pp.1-8. ⟨10.1016/j.agee.2013.11.027⟩. ⟨hal-00990641⟩

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