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Jellinek S, KM Parris and DA Driscoll (2013) Are only the strong surviving? Little influence of restoration on beetles (Coleoptera) in an agricultural landscape. BIODIVERSITY AND CONSERVATION 162:17-23

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Habitat restoration has become an important part of biodiversity conservation in the face of extensive habitat loss and fragmentation, especially in agricultural landscapes. Study of invertebrates such as beetles (Coleoptera) may be important to assess the effectiveness of restoration techniques in maintaining native fauna, because they provide a variety of trophic roles and ecosystem services. In this study we examined the conservation value for beetles of revegetation in linear strips and alongside remnant patches compared with remnant vegetation and cleared roadsides. We also assessed how habitat variables structured beetle community composition. Beetle species richness and abundance did not substantially differ between revegetated, remnant and cleared areas, and was not substantially influenced by vegetation type and structure. Herbivorous beetles and the family Curculionidae were more species rich in cleared linear strips. Beetle fauna in these agricultural landscapes may be a robust subset of the pre-clearing beetle community, possibly due to the widespread degradation of remnant areas and the ground layer habitats within them. One beetle species had slightly higher abundance in remnant linear strips, suggesting that remnant habitats may be important for some beetle species. Importantly, environmental variables strongly influenced beetle community composition, signifying that beetle communities are still responding to factors such as soil type and native vegetation, rather than variables mainly associated with land management. The restoration practices currently being undertaken in agricultural areas may not maintain beetle species that require specific habitat variables to survive. Ground-layer attributes need to be included in future revegetation projects, and translocation of specialist species of beetles may be required to restore communities.