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, 26 (9), 2251-2270

Land-use Effects on Local Biodiversity in Tropical Forests Vary Between Continents

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Land-use Effects on Local Biodiversity in Tropical Forests Vary Between Continents

Helen R P Phillips et al. Biodivers Conserv.

Abstract

Land-use change is one of the greatest threats to biodiversity, especially in the tropics where secondary and plantation forests are expanding while primary forest is declining. Understanding how well these disturbed habitats maintain biodiversity is therefore important-specifically how the maturity of secondary forest and the management intensity of plantation forest affect levels of biodiversity. Previous studies have shown that the biotas of different continents respond differently to land use. Any continental differences in the response could be due to differences in land-use intensity and maturity of secondary vegetation or to differences among species in their sensitivity to disturbances. We tested these hypotheses using an extensive dataset collated from published biodiversity comparisons within four tropical regions-Asia, Africa, Central America and South America-and a wide range of animal and plant taxa. We analysed responses to land use of several aspects of biodiversity-species richness, species composition and endemicity-allowing a more detailed comparison than in previous syntheses. Within each continent, assemblages from secondary vegetation of all successional stages retained species richness comparable to those in primary vegetation, but community composition was distinct, especially in younger secondary vegetation. Plantation forests, particularly the most intensively managed, supported a smaller-and very distinct-set of species from sites in primary vegetation. Responses to land use did vary significantly among continents, with the biggest difference in richness between plantation and primary forests in Asia. Responses of individual taxonomic groups did not differ strongly among continents, giving little indication that species were inherently more sensitive in Asia than elsewhere. We show that oil palm plantations support particularly low species richness, indicating that continental differences in the response of biodiversity to land use are perhaps more likely explained by Asia's high prevalence of oil palm plantations.

Keywords: Beta diversity; Biotic homogenization; Community composition; Extinction filter; Oil palm; Species sensitivity.

Figures

Fig. 1
Fig. 1
Location of the 144 studies from which data were acquired, with the 35 countries represented grouped into four continents: Central America (triangles), South America (squares), Africa (diamonds) and Asia (circles)
Fig. 2
Fig. 2
Effects of seven land uses on site-level species richness for Asia, Africa, Central America and South America. From left to right, land uses are: primary vegetation (‘Primary’); mature secondary vegetation (‘MSV’); intermediate secondary vegetation (‘ISV’); young secondary vegetation (‘YSV’); low-intensity (‘L’), medium-intensity (‘M’) and high-intensity (‘H’) plantation forests (‘Plantation’). Primary vegetation is used as the reference level, and changes in diversity in other land uses is measured relative to this baseline. Error bars show 95% CIs. Grey points show post hoc analysis of impact on species richness of land use, using only sites in Asia but excluding oil-palm plantation sites
Fig. 3
Fig. 3
Effects of seven land uses on site-level Simpson’s evenness for Asia, Africa, Central America and South America. Land uses are as in Fig. 2. Error bars show 95% CIs
Fig. 4
Fig. 4
Effect of land use on community weighted mean (CWM) range size for Asia, Africa, Central America and South America. Land uses are as in Fig. 2. Error bars show 95% CIs
Fig. 5
Fig. 5
Effects of non-natural land uses (plantation forest) on site-level ln-species richness in each of four taxa (circles herptiles, triangles Aves, filled square Lepidoptera, empty square Hymenoptera) for Asia, Africa, Central America and South America, relative to the baseline of site-level ln-species richness in natural land uses (primary vegetation, secondary vegetation), indicated by the zero-line. Error bars show 95% CIs
Fig. 6
Fig. 6
The average site-level species richness within each plantation crop type. Abbreviations as in Fig. 2, with the addition of the following plantation crop categories; Coffee, Oil Palm, Cocoa, Wood, Mixture (a local mixture of crops) and Fruit & Veg (fruit or vegetable crops). Error bars show 95% CIs
Fig. 7
Fig. 7
Dendrogram of the average community compositional similarity (based on Sørensen’s similarity index) of each land use compared to every other, within each continent; Asia, Africa, Central America and South America. Primary primary vegetation, MSV mature secondary vegetation, ISV intermediate secondary vegetation, YSV young secondary vegetation, L-plantation low-intensity plantation forest, M-plantation medium-intensity plantation forest, and H-plantation high-intensity plantation forest
Fig. 8
Fig. 8
Dendrogram of the average community similarity (based on Sørensen’s similarity index) of plantation crop types and the other non-plantation land uses across all continents. Abbreviations as in Fig. 7, with the addition of the following plantation crop categories; Coffee, Oil Palm, Cocoa, Wood, Mixture (a local mixture of crops) and Fruit & Veg (fruit or vegetable crops)

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