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Recovery of Spider Communities After a Spontaneous Summer Fire in the Forb-Bunchgrass Steppe of Eastern Ukraine


Recently, anthropogenic fires in protected areas have become more frequent. I studied the response of the spider community after an extensive summer fire in the ‘Striltsivskyi Steppe’ Reserve in eastern Ukraine. A total of 117 spider species was found in the pre-fire period, 40 species were registered in the first and 89 species in the third post-fire year. Herb-dwelling spiders began to colonize burnt plots in July, when juveniles of the new generation began dispersing. In September, their abundance was similar to that of undisturbed steppe and within three years, the spider assemblages recovered almost completely. Cursorial ground-dwellers in the first post-fire year decreased in species richness and increased in activity density. In the third year, their species diversity and activity density became much higher than in control plots. Some xerophilous species benefited from the fire. Litter dwellers are extremely vulnerable. During the three post-fire years, their numbers and diversity did not recover. Some rare species with a patchy geographical distribution disappeared from the local fauna. Such a reaction of endangered species is the main restriction on the use of fire as a conservation management. The prerequisite for its implementation is maintaining relevant refuges for threatened species.

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2 veces al año
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Ciencias de la vida, Botánica, Ecología, otros