Insects in Forest Ecosystems

Authored by: Andrea Battisti

Routledge Handbook of Forest Ecology

Print publication date:  October  2015
Online publication date:  October  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415735452
eBook ISBN: 9781315818290
Adobe ISBN: 9781317816447

10.4324/9781315818290.ch15

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Abstract

The greatest part of the terrestrial planet has been covered by forest biomes for a long time and over a large variety of climatic conditions. This has created enormous possibilities for the animal community to diversify and to adapt to local conditions at different spatial scales. Arthropods, and in particular insects, play a major role in the community because of their great potential to adapt and to build up trophic networks linking below-ground and above-ground communities. Latitude and elevation are the main factors affecting the distribution and abundance of animal communities in terrestrial habitats, being related by the specific lapse rate of temperature (0.6°C every 100 m of elevation and 1° of latitude) (Hodkinson, 2005). The distribution and abundance of insects are mainly driven by temperature gradients associated with latitude and elevation, although topography may play a decisive role at local scale (Figure 15.1). As a consequence, communities associated with mountain forest ecosystems are generally more fragmented than those associated with forests of low elevation, even if growing across a wide latitudinal span.

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