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Logging cuts the functional importance of invertebrates in tropical rainforest

Ewers, Robert M., Boyle, Michael J. W., Gleave, Rosalind A., Plowman, Nichola S., Benedick, Suzan, Bernard, Henry, Bishop, Tom R., Bakhtiar, Effendi Y., Chey, Vun Khen, Chung, Arthur Y. C., and others. (2015) Logging cuts the functional importance of invertebrates in tropical rainforest. Nature Communications, 6 . p. 6836. ISSN 2041-1723. (doi:10.1038/ncomms7836)

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Abstract

Invertebrates are dominant species in primary tropical rainforests, where their abundance and diversity contributes to the functioning and resilience of these globally important ecosystems. However, more than one-third of tropical forests have been logged, with dramatic impacts on rainforest biodiversity that may disrupt key ecosystem processes. We find that the contribution of invertebrates to three ecosystem processes operating at three trophic levels (litter decomposition, seed predation and removal, and invertebrate predation) is reduced by up to one-half following logging. These changes are associated with decreased abundance of key functional groups of termites, ants, beetles and earthworms, and an increase in the abundance of small mammals, amphibians and insectivorous birds in logged relative to primary forest. Our results suggest that ecosystem processes themselves have considerable resilience to logging, but the consistent decline of invertebrate functional importance is indicative of a human-induced shift in how these ecological processes operate in tropical rainforests.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1038/ncomms7836
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH541 Ecology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)
Depositing User: Matthew Struebig
Date Deposited: 15 Nov 2015 12:38 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 14:32 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/48399 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Struebig, Matthew J.: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2058-8502
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