Quantifying the biodiversity value of tropical primary, secondary, and plantation forests. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA

Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Conservation, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, United Kingdom. .u.k
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Impact Factor: 9.67). 12/2007; 104(47):18555-60. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0703333104
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Biodiversity loss from deforestation may be partly offset by the expansion of secondary forests and plantation forestry in the tropics. However, our current knowledge of the value of these habitats for biodiversity conservation is limited to very few taxa, and many studies are severely confounded by methodological shortcomings. We examined the conservation value of tropical primary, secondary, and plantation forests for 15 taxonomic groups using a robust and replicated sample design that minimized edge effects. Different taxa varied markedly in their response to patterns of land use in terms of species richness and the percentage of species restricted to primary forest (varying from 5% to 57%), yet almost all between-forest comparisons showed marked differences in community structure and composition. Cross-taxon congruence in response patterns was very weak when evaluated using abundance or species richness data, but much stronger when using metrics based upon community similarity. Our results show that, whereas the biodiversity indicator group concept may hold some validity for several taxa that are frequently sampled (such as birds and fruit-feeding butterflies), it fails for those exhibiting highly idiosyncratic responses to tropical land-use change (including highly vagile species groups such as bats and orchid bees), highlighting the problems associated with quantifying the biodiversity value of anthropogenic habitats. Finally, although we show that areas of native regeneration and exotic tree plantations can provide complementary conservation services, we also provide clear empirical evidence demonstrating the irreplaceable value of primary forests.

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Available from: Carlos A. Peres, Sep 29, 2015
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    • "Since forest fragmentation altered assemblage composition, forest fragments cannot substitute continuous forest. It is well proven that large continuous primary forests are indispensable for protecting and retaining tropical biodiversity and ecosystem functions (Barlow et al., 2007; Laurance et al., 2011). However, remaining forests are under enormous pressure all over the tropics due to ongoing deforestation (Hansen et al., 2013) and habitat conversion for agriculture (Laurance et al., 2014). "
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    ABSTRACT: Forest fragmentation often causes biodiversity loss, but there is no consistent pattern on species' reactions. Considering the alarming rate of deforestation in the tropics, and the fact, that large areas of protected continuous forest are limited, it becomes increasingly important to determine the biodiversity value of fragmented forests. In order to investigate fragmentation effects on rainforest frogs in Madagascar and to assess the conservation value of these fragments, we analyzed amphibian diversity in a continuous rainforest and nearby forest fragments. We hypothesized that species richness is lower in fragments compared to continuous forest, and that fragmentation leads to altered assemblage composition. We found no fragmentation effects on species richness, demonstrating that fragments may maintain local species richness comparable to continuous forest. The presence of streams was the most important factor for high species richness, independent of fragmentation status. However, we detected fragmentation effects on species composition. As expected, several species were restricted to continuous forest, but many species occurred in both forest types, and some species were only found in fragments. Rainforest amphibians in our study area were less sensitive to fragmentation than expected. Adaptations to natural disturbances like cyclones could be one reason to explain this. However, as some species exclusively occurred in continuous forest and species composition differed between continuous forest and fragments, we conclude that fragments cannot substitute continuous forest blocs, but are generally important for maintaining amphibian diversity in Madagascar, especially if they comprise streams. Forest fragments should hence be included in conservation planning.
    Biological Conservation 11/2015; 191:707–715. DOI:10.1016/j.biocon.2015.08.020 · 3.76 Impact Factor
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    • "Primary forest conservation is key to maximising biodiversity and ecosystem service provision to wider populations, nationally and beyond (Barlow et al., 2007). In western Rwanda the potential for non-native forest habitats to provide alternative, vital resources to local populations provides a clear opportunity for conservation. "
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    ABSTRACT: Lack of attention to social complexity has created a gap between current ecosystem service research and the kind of insights needed to inform ecosystem management in the tropics. To contribute to closing this gap, this study applies a methodology for exploring complex linkages between ecosystem services and human wellbeing. This builds on emerging frameworks for studying multiple dimensions of human wellbeing, drawing on Amartya Sen's capabilities approach to human development. The approach is applied to an empirical case study of three sites adjacent to native tropical forest in western Rwanda. The value of exploring social complexity in ecosystem services research is illustrated through its contribution to understanding a) different types of values; b) disaggregation of people; c) power relations and their influence on trade-offs; d) the importance of multiple land use types in the landscape; and e) changes and their drivers at multiple scales. The analysis reveals that the majority of services valued by forest-adjacent Rwandan inhabitants are not provided by tropical forests but by other habitats. We suggest that more integrated landscape governance may offer synergistic opportunities for conservation and development.
    Ecological Economics 09/2015; 117. DOI:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2015.06.018 · 2.72 Impact Factor
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    • "Forest fragmentation and degradation affects plant and animal community composition and structure (Lovejoy et al. 1986; Fahrig 2003). Terrestrial communities globally are affected by deforestation and forest fragmentation; however declines in species diversity are most drastic in tropical regions (Barlow et al. 2007; Gibson et al. 2011). Biodiversity loss as a result of habitat loss and fragmentation has been documented in many tropical taxa ranging from amphibians (Lips et al. 2005, 2006) to birds (Perfecto et al. 1996) to invertebrates including ants and butterflies (Ghazoul 2002; Bihn et al. 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: The Los Tuxtlas Biosphere Reserve in Southeastern Veracruz, Mexico represents the northernmost Neotropical lowland rainforest and has lost 84% of its forests in the last forty years. Rich terrestrial and aquatic species communities are found throughout Neotropical forests, habitats increasingly threatened by land management practices. Plant-held waters, Phytotelmata, are ecologically important discrete microhabitats harboring many specialist invertebrates and are abundant in tropical forests. In this study, using artificial tree holes, we examined invertebrate tree hole communities in mature forest of Los Tuxtlas and in a managed habitat adjacent to the station. Based on the proximity of human and livestock communities to managed habitats and the dispersal limitations of some phytotelmata specialists, we expected to find community composition differences between the two habitats. We found distinct differences in chironomid colonization; Tanypodinae, a predaceous subfamily, was present in the managed habitat and its omnivorous counterpart, Chironominae, was present in the forest. We found differences in mosquito colonization with more predaceous Toxorhychites in the managed habitat. Haemagogus mosquitoes were only present in the managed habitat. These results indicate different colonization ability across phytotelmata specialists and warn of larger community shifts and potential public health hazards with continued and intensified forest fragmentation and degradation.
    Journal of Insect Conservation 07/2015; DOI:10.1007/s10841-015-9791-4 · 1.72 Impact Factor
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