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Effects of Top-Soil Preparation and Broad-Leaved Tree Mixture on Carabid Beetles in Afforested Fallow Plots



A 2-year study to evaluate the effect of four soil preparation techniques and four species compositions in a pine plantation with an admixture of broad-leaved trees on the species diversity and structure of ground beetle assemblages (Carabidae) was conducted. The soil preparation techniques were full shallow agricultural plowing (25 cm deep with three variants—plowing, plowing with ridge formation, and plowing with subsoiling) and full deep plowing (50 cm deep). The plantation species compositions were pine 7000/hectare, pine 5500/hectare + broad-leaved species 1500/hectare, pine 4000/hectare + broad-leaved species 3000/hectare, and pine 2000/hectare + broad-leaved species 5000/hectare. Carabidae were sampled monthly with pitfall traps in the plantation from May to November in 2003 and 2004—the fourth and fifth years after afforestation. Only the soil preparation technique affected species diversity. The mean number of carabid species and the Shannon–Wiener index were higher in the case of the full agriculture plowing with subsoiling treatment and the full agriculture plowing with ridge formation than in the full shallow agriculture plowing. The structure of the assemblages was dependent on the soil preparation technique, but not on tree species composition. In general, deep plowing and shallow plowing with subsoiling were conducive to an increase in the proportion of individuals representing late succession species, whereas shallow plowing favored early succession species. The results suggest that for effective plantation of a managed stand, deep plowing or shallow plowing with subsoiling is more beneficial for afforestation of fallow fields than typical shallow agricultural plowing.