Ant communities as bio–indicators in relation to fire management of spotted gum (Eucalyptus maculata Hook.) forests in southeast Queensland
Memoirs of the Museum of Victoria
Vanderwoude, C, Andersen, A.N. and House, A.P.N. , 1997. Ant communities as bio-indicators in relation to fire management of spotted gum (Eucalyptus maculata Hook.) forests in south-east Queensland. Memoirs of the Museum of Victoria 56(2): 671-675. As a pilot test of the potential for using ant communities as bio-indicators in forest monitoring programs, the effects of different fire regimes on ant community structure were studied at Bauple State Forest in 1 994 and 1 995. Three sites had been
... ree sites had been subjected to long-term burning regimes of: annual burning: periodic burning(2-3 years); and no burning. Two grids of pitfall traps were established in each compartment, and ants were sampled monthly between May 1 994 and April 1 995. A total of 88 species from 42 genera were recorded, with 74 species found from the annually burned site, 63 from the periodically burned site, and 43 from the unburned site. The relative abundance of Eyrean (arid) taxa was particularly high (36%) and that of Bassian (cool temperate) taxa low (8%) at the annually burned site, with the reverse true for the unburned site (14% and 20% respectively). Burning frequency also affected the dominance of functional groups. The relative abundance of Dominant Dolichoderinae (species of Iridomvrmex) was positively related to fire frequency, while Opportunists (mostly species o(Rhvtidoponcra) comprised 65% of all ants at the unburned site, but only 16% at the annually burned site. These site differences conform to known ant-firehabitat relationships elsewhere in Australia. We have not only shown that ant communities are sensitive to fire management practices in Bauple State Forest, but have demonstrated that an effective ant sampling program is a practicable option.