iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Diversity of saproxylic beetle communities in chestnut agroforestry systems

Francesco Parisi (1-2)   , Fabio Lombardi (3), Antonio Marziliano Pasquale (3), Diego Russo (3), Antonio De Cristofaro (1), Marco Marchetti (4), Roberto Tognetti (1-5)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 13, Issue 5, Pages 456-465 (2020)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor3478-013
Published: Oct 07, 2020 - Copyright © 2020 SISEF

Research Articles

Chestnut (Castanea sativa Mill.) has been exploited over the centuries for different uses. Nowadays, chestnut is mostly managed as coppice or orchard, creating a matrix of different forest structures. In particular, saproxylic species may provide information to correlate forest naturalness with stand structure. In this study, we evaluated how different management methods might influence the diversity of beetles hosted in chestnut agroforestry systems. Three management options were considered: young and mature coppice stands, and the traditional fruit orchard. Microhabitats occurring on veteran trees were also surveyed to investigate their effect on saproxylic communities, in the fruit orchard. The study area is located in Southern Italy, Aspromonte National Park, where Coleoptera were collected using window flight traps and the stand structural traits were also quantified. In the fruit orchard, a census of the occurring microhabitats was also realized. We used the following diversity indeces (α-diversity) to assess the state of conservation of the analysed forests: (i) Shannon Index; (ii) Margalef’s Richness index; (iii) Equitability index; (iv) Dominance index. Results revealed that forest management have a fundamental role in influencing the diversity of Coleoptera communities and saproxylic beetles. A lower species richness was observed in the mature coppice in comparison with the young coppice and fruit orchard. Nevertheless, these agroforestry systems, reflecting differentiated structural traits, allowed the development of highly specialized and threatened species (34.3% included in IUCN risk categories), with important contribution to conservation of biodiversity in the rural landscape. Finally, the abundance and diversity of microhabitats in the traditional fruit orchard had positive effects on many saproxylic beetle families. These beetle communities, particularly saproxylic species, can be used as excellent bioindicators in actively managed agroforestry systems, suggesting sustainable forest management options for chestnut, while the conservation of veteran trees rich in microhabitats can be considered fundamental for preserving many endangered insects.


Apennines, α-diversity, Biodiversity Indicators, Chestnut Orchards, Coppice Stands, Forest Management, Threatened Species

Authors’ address

Francesco Parisi 0000-0002-1914-7331
Antonio De Cristofaro 0000-0002-3207-9329
Roberto Tognetti 0000-0002-7771-6176
Dipartimento Agricoltura, Ambiente e Alimenti, Università degli Studi del Molise, v. De Sanctis, I-86100 Campobasso (Italy)
Francesco Parisi 0000-0002-1914-7331
GeoLAB - Laboratorio di Geomatica Forestale, Dip.to di Scienze e Tecnologie Agrarie, Alimentari, Ambientali e Forestali, Università degli Studi di Firenze, v. San Bonaventura 13, 50145 Firenze (Italy)
Fabio Lombardi 0000-0003-3517-5890
Antonio Marziliano Pasquale 0000-0003-1327-277X
Diego Russo
Dipartimento di Agraria, Università Mediterranea di Reggio Calabria, Loc. Feo di Vito, I-89122 Reggio Calabria (Italy)
Marco Marchetti 0000-0002-5275-5769
Dipartimento di Bioscienze e Territorio, Università degli Studi del Molise, C.da Fonte Lappone, I-86090 Pesche, IS (Italy)
Roberto Tognetti 0000-0002-7771-6176
The EFI Project Centre on Mountain Forests (MOUNTFOR), Edmund Mach Foundation, v. E. Mach 1, I-38010 San Michele all’Adige, TN (Italy)

Corresponding author



Parisi F, Lombardi F, Marziliano Pasquale A, Russo D, De Cristofaro A, Marchetti M, Tognetti R (2020). Diversity of saproxylic beetle communities in chestnut agroforestry systems. iForest 13: 456-465. - doi: 10.3832/ifor3478-013

Academic Editor

Mirko Di Febbraro

Paper history

Received: Apr 20, 2020
Accepted: Aug 04, 2020

First online: Oct 07, 2020
Publication Date: Oct 31, 2020
Publication Time: 2.13 months

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