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17.10.2016 | Original Paper | Ausgabe 1/2017

Biodiversity and Conservation 1/2017

Contrasting the distribution of butterflies and termites in plantations and tropical forests

Zeitschrift:
Biodiversity and Conservation > Ausgabe 1/2017
Autoren:
Yves Basset, Héctor Barrios, José Alejandro Ramirez, Yacksecari Lopez, James Coronado, Filonila Perez, Stephany Arizala, Ricardo Bobadilla, Maurice Leponce
Wichtige Hinweise
Communicated by Akihiro Nakamura.

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1007/​s10531-016-1231-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
This article belongs to the Topical Collection: Forest and plantation biodiversity.

Abstract

In the tropics vast areas of natural forests are being converted into plantations. The magnitude of the resulting loss in arthropod biodiversity and associated ecosystem services represents a significant topic of research. In this study we contrasted the abundance, species richness and faunal turnover of butterflies, resident butterflies (i.e., whose host plants were ascertained to occur in the habitats studied) and termites between small (average 4.3 ha) 20+ year old exotic plantations (teak and Terminalia), native plantations (Cedro espino), and an old growth forest in Panama. We used Pollard walks and manual search to quantify the abundance or occurrence of butterflies and termites, respectively. In 2014 we observed 4610 butterflies representing 266 species and 108 termite encounters (out of 160 quadrats) representing 15 species. Butterflies were more abundant and diverse in plantations than in the forest, whereas this pattern was opposite for resident butterflies and termites. There was marked faunal turnover between plantations and forest. We conclude that (a) the magnitude of faunal changes between forest and plantations is less drastic for termites than for butterflies; (b) resident butterfly species are more impacted by the conversion of forest to plantations than all butterflies, including transient species; and (c) species richness does not necessarily decrease in the series forest > native > exotic plantations. Whereas there are advantages of studying more tractable taxa such as butterflies, the responses of such taxa can be highly unrepresentative of other invertebrate groups responsible for different ecological services.

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