Oribatid Mites (Acariformes, Oribatei) as an Index of Postpyrogenous Changes in Podzol and Peat Soils of Boreal Forests

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Population changes of oribatid mites were studied in a bilberry-moss spruce stand and shrub-peat moss pine stand caused by ground fire. The fire resulted in a drop of population density and changes in the species composition of mites in both forest types. In the case of the spruce stand, the restoration of species composition proceeded parallel to the formation of a bilberry-moss cover and litter and became distinct four years after the fire. In the case of pine stand, the fire enveloped only the peripheral region. After the sphagnum cover burned out, the moor dehydration began and the mineralized organogenic substrate emerged. Here, the oribatid complex was significantly rearranged and the previously dominating moisture-loving species were replaced by the mesophilous-xerophilous species typical predominantly for mineralized soils. This explains why the oribatid species composition in the burned pine stand is more similar to that in the control spruce stand than to that in the control pine stand.

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