Human impact on insect communities in a typical Mediterranean forest

A new paper from the Institute of Mediterranean Forest Ecosystems shares insights from Schinias Pinus pinea forest in Greece about preserving and managing biodiversity.

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Photo: A. Solomou

A new article about Schinias Pinus pinea forest near Athens in Greece, explains how this degraded biotope has been impacted by human activity in many ways. The article, published in the journal Forests, describes how urbanisation is particularly noticeable in the region between the marsh and pinewood and the northern part, causing changes in the insect species and their populations.

The authors found that insects cannot generally adapt to the effects of construction works. The CPW (cambio-phloeophagous and wood-boring) insects may be an exception, as they associate with Pinus halepensis and avoid Pinus pinea. Restricting the marsh can have a direct impact on the insect fauna by changing vegetation and encouraging the growth of Pinus halepensis instead of Pinus pinea, as well as by creating open terrain where Pinus halepensis seedlings can thrive. This also lowers the water table, which is necessary for the germination of Pinus pinea seeds. The indicator values of insect species can be used to measure the roles of the insects in each plant community.

Photo: A. Solomou

To summarise, this paper underlines the necessity of implementing conservation strategies in this region and customising them to the regional social environment in order to rehabilitate the damaged ecosystem. To ensure sustainability and preserve its ecosystem services, ecological management is needed. Additionally, this rehabilitation needs to take into account the socio-economic, political, and cultural needs. The findings from Schinias can be applied to other Pinus pinea forests, as these habitats have a shared natural history.

Read the full article

Full reference

Petrakis, P.V.; Koulelis, P.P.; Solomou, A.D.; Spanos, K.; Spanos, I.; Feest, A. Insect Diversity in the Coastal Pinewood and Marsh at Schinias, Marathon, Greece: Impact of Management Decisions on a Degraded Biotope. Forests 2023, 14, 392. DOI: doi.org/10.3390/f14020392

SOURCEInstitute of Mediterranean Forest Ecosystems
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EFIMED
EFIMED is the Mediterranean Facility of the European Forest Institute. Based in Barcelona, Spain, it was launched in 2007.