1067-4136/04/3506- © 2004
Russian Journal of Ecology, Vol. 35, No. 6, 2004, pp. 403–408. Translated from Ekologiya, No. 6, 2004, pp. 450–455.
Original Russian Text Copyright © 2004 by Ermakov.
The responses of invertebrates, including ground
beetles (Carabidae), to technogenic pollution are being
actively investigated (Aleinikova, 1976; Gilyarov,
1982; Pristavko, 1984; Emets, 1986; Kozlov, 1990;
Krivolutskii, 1994; Butovskii, 2001). Many studies of
this kind have been made at the organism and popula-
tion levels but using a small number of model indicator
species (Emets and Zhulidov, 1985; Emets and Kulma-
tov, 1983; Butovsky, 1997; Lagisz
Responses at the cenotic level (e.g., that of carabi-
docenoses) are no less interesting, especially under
conditions of long-term exposure to chemical pollut-
ants emitted from point sources, such as metallurgical
, 1982; Bengtsson and Rundgren,
, 1987; Read
, 1987; Nekra-
sova, 1993; Vorobeichik
, 1994; Vorobeichik,
1995; Gongalsky and Butovsky, 1999).
The purpose of this study was to reveal changes in
the taxonomic and ecological structure of forest carabi-
docenoses along a gradient of chemical pollution from
emissions from a copper-smelting plant.
MATERIAL AND METHODS
Studies were performed in the zone of the Middle
Ural Copper-Smelting Plant (MUCSP) located near the
city of Revda (Sverdlovsk oblast), in the southern taiga
subzone. The plant has been in operation since 1940,
with sulfur dioxide and toxic elements adsorbed on
solid particles (Cu, Zn, As, Pb, Cd, etc.) being the main
pollutants emitted from it. Test plots were established
in two types of biotopes (birch and ﬁr–spruce forests)
in the zones of transformation of forest ecosystems that
were delimited previously (Vorobeichik
The technogenic desert
adjoining the plant from
the east is at the ﬁnal stage of technogenic digression:
there are evident eroded areas with fragments of
thinned woody vegetation (birch and aspen), the herb–
dwarf shrub and moss layers are absent, and a thick
layer of nondecomposing litter has accumulated in
The impact zone
is located 1–1.5 km west of the
MUCSP. The plots were established in a mesophytic
secondary birch forest and a small remaining spot of
ﬁr–spruce forest with a herb–dwarf shrub layer consist-
ing of horsetail and grasses (lime grass and bent grass),
well-developed monospeciﬁc moss layer, and an
increased depth of the litter.
The buffer zone
lies 6 km west of the MUCSP.
Phytocenoses: primary wood-sorrel ﬁr–spruce forest
and secondary bilberry birch forest with a weak under-
story. The herb–dwarf shrub layer consists of small
herbs; the litter is thin.
The background zone
is located 16–20 km west of
the plant. Phytocenoses: herb–wood sorrel ﬁr–spruce
forest and herb–fern birch forest with a well-developed
understory and shallow litter.
A line of ten Barber traps (neck diameter 85 mm)
with ethylene glycol as a ﬁxative was set in each
biotope. The traps were checked every week through-
out the growing season (from May to September). The
total amount of work was 8300 trap-days; more than
18000 specimens of herpetobiontic invertebrates (with-
out ants) were trapped, including 4200 adult and
1000 larval ground beetles.
The relative abundance of insects was characterized
using the index of dynamic density recalculated per ten
trap-days. Classiﬁcation of species by their abundance
Structural Changes in the Carabid Fauna
of Forest Ecosystems under a Toxic Impact
A. I. Ermakov
Institute of Plant and Animal Ecology, Ural Division, Russian Academy of Sciences,
ul. Vos’mogo Marta 202, Ekaterinburg, 620144 Russia
Received August 5, 2003
—Changes in the abundance, species composition, and biomorphological structure of the carabid
fauna were studied in birch and ﬁr–spruce forests growing in a zone exposed to emissions from a copper-smelt-
ing plant in the Middle Urals. The dynamic density of carabids decreased and their species composition and the
ratio of life forms changed along the pollution gradient, but the principle of organization of carabidocenoses
and the structure of dominance in them remained undisturbed.
: carabids, herpetobiontic invertebrates, population structure, life forms, industrial pollution, heavy
metals, copper-smelting plant, the Middle Urals, forest ecosystems.