Edge history modulates the depth of edge influence: Evidence from ground beetles with different feeding traits

Tibor Magura*, Gábor L. Lövei

*Corresponding author for this work

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Anthropogenic habitat loss and fragmentation are major concerns to conservationists, since these processes lead to species decline and extinction. Edge effect is one of the most important causes of biodiversity losses in fragmented habitats. The depth of edge influence, the distance over which the edge effect penetrates into the adjacent habitat is a central issue, as it fundamentally determines whether the habitat fragment has any remaining core habitat, which is essential for the survival of habitat specialist species. We reviewed 204 edge studies on ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) of different feeding habits, in forests, one of the habitats most impacted by humans. Meta-analysing 1814 abundance data of 351 ground beetle species from forest edges and their adjoining interiors, we showed that forest edges had significantly higher abundance of herbivorous, omnivorous, and predatory ground beetles than their interiors. Edge history considerably affected the depth of edge influence which on all trophic groups was similar in natural edges and those maintained by agriculture (≤ 10–20 m), while it was wider (> 300 m) when created by forestry or other anthropogenic activities. Consequently, the minimum area of a forest fragment should be ∼ 330 ha in order to keep half of it as core habitat to preserve forest-interior species.

Original languageEnglish
Article number121874
JournalForest Ecology and Management
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2024


  • Abrupt edge
  • Carabid beetles
  • Meta-analysis
  • Permeability
  • Stratified edge
  • Trophic level


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