In the northeastern United States, many vertebrate species rely on early successional forest habitats (ESHs). ESHs may also support higher invertebrate diversity and abundance than late successional habitats (LSHs). We assessed the differences in family-level richness and biomass of understory terrestrial invertebrates during the summer season in paired ESH (3-7 years since harvest) and LSH (<50 years since last harvest) stands in the northern hardwood forests of northern New Hampshire. Invertebrate family richness was 1.5 times greater in ESH, with 35 families found only in ESH compared with 5 families found only in LSH. Invertebrate biomass was 3.2 times greater in ESH than in LSH. Our sampling methodology and time frame were limited, and taxonomic resolution was relatively coarse. Nevertheless, our results suggest that including ESH stands in northeastern managed forest landscapes may help maintain high levels of invertebrate diversity and are consistent with the use of ESH by many insectivorous vertebrates.
- Early successional forest habitat
- Forest management
- New England
- Terrestrial invertebrates