Cristofoli, S., G. Mahy, R. Kekenbosch and K. Lambeets
By using a functional trait-approach, we tested if the time since restoration affects trait distribution of spiders in wet heathlands. Typical wet heathland spider species were less common with increasing vegetation encroachment and lower water content. New patches were inhabited by summer active, eurytopic (non-heathland) spiders, while more typical heathland species were found in middle-aged and old patches. Our results suggest that time- related changes in vegetation structure and moistness of restored wet heathlands are clearly reflected by spider communities. Although mobile spiders quickly recolonize the restored heathlands, it takes time for typical heathland spiders to settle. Restoration measures should prevent the negative effects of a vegetation encroachment and a high density of forested edges and should rehabilitate the hydrological cycle in order to preserve rare heathland spiders. We discuss that accounting for responses of spiders provides additional information to guide wet heathlands restoration.