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Open AccessArticle

Space, Habitat and Isolation are the Key Determinants of Tree Colonization by the Carpenter Ant in Plantation Forests

1,2 and 1,3,*
1
Department of Forest Protection and Entomology, Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Kamýcká 1176, CZ-165 21 Prague, Czech Republic
2
Forestry & Game Management Research Institute, Strnady 136, CZ-252 02 Jíloviště, Czech Republic
3
Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, University of Hradec Králové, Rokitanského 62, CZ-500 03 Hradec Králové, Czech Republic
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2019, 10(8), 630; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10080630
Received: 27 June 2019 / Revised: 23 July 2019 / Accepted: 25 July 2019 / Published: 27 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecology and Management)
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Abstract

Forest plantations are still often considered the antithesis of real nature. However, plantations can host many organisms. The problem is that some of the hosted species are regarded ad hoc as pests. The main aim of our paper was to study the carpenter ant (Camponotus ligniperdus) in windstorm habitats. We studied forests in East Bohemia, Czech Republic, and focused on the spatial distribution of snapped trees and the influence of selected forest characteristics on the incidence of ant nests. We found that the nests in the study area mainly occurred in Norway spruce, which is the most commercially important tree in the majority of Central Europe. More than one quarter of the snapped trees were inhabited by the ants. We found that nests exhibited a spatially autocorrelated pattern that differed on spatial scales. The most important characteristic of the host tree for determining carpenter ant nests was the presence of brown rot, and the majority of tree nests were isolated from forest openings. The presence of carpenter ants in forest plantations is, therefore, not harmful. Their presence could be used by forest managers as an indication of unsuitable stand conditions for the successful growth of the Norway spruce and other coniferous plantation trees. View Full-Text
Keywords: Camponotus ligniperdus; Norway spruce; rot type; sanitation cuttings; wind disturbance Camponotus ligniperdus; Norway spruce; rot type; sanitation cuttings; wind disturbance
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Véle, A.; Horák, J. Space, Habitat and Isolation are the Key Determinants of Tree Colonization by the Carpenter Ant in Plantation Forests. Forests 2019, 10, 630.

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