Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Spider community variability and response to restoration in arid grasslands of the Pacific Northwest, USA.

Abstract

Grassland restoration in North America has intensified but its impact on major invertebrate groups, including spiders, is unclear. We studied three grassland locations in the Pacific Northwest, USA, to (1) describe variability in spider communities, (2) identify environmental variables that may underlie patterns in spider communities, and (3) determine whether spiders and environmental variables differ between actively (removal of disturbances, then plant with natives) vs. passively restored sites (removal of disturbance only). We found spider richness, diversity, and composition differed among the three locations but abundance did not. Sites with more litter and invasive grass cover had more spiders while sites at higher elevation and with more forb and biological soil crust cover had increased spider richness and diversity. Spider community composition was associated with elevation and litter cover. Surprisingly, no spider community or environmental variables differed between actively and passively restored sites, except that litter cover was higher in passively restored sites. This study demonstrates that even in superficially similar locations, invertebrate communities may differ greatly and these differences may prevent consistent responses to active vs. passive restoration. If increasing biodiversity or the abundance of invertebrate prey are goals, then environmental factors influencing spider communities should be taken into account in restoration planning.