Stream ecosystem integrity is impaired by logging and shifting agriculture in a global megadiversity center (Sarawak, Borneo)

Jinggut, Tajang, Yule, Catherine M., and Boyero, Luz (2012) Stream ecosystem integrity is impaired by logging and shifting agriculture in a global megadiversity center (Sarawak, Borneo). Science of the Total Environment, 437. pp. 83-90.

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Abstract

In common with most of Borneo, the Bakun region of Sarawak is currently subject to heavy deforestation mainly due to logging and, to a lesser extent, traditional slash-and-bum farming practices. This has the potential to affect stream ecosystems, which are integrators of environmental change in the surrounding terrestrial landscape. This study evaluated the effects of both types of deforestation by using functional and structural indicators (leaf litter decomposition rates and associated detritivores or 'shredders', respectively) to compare a fundamental ecosystem process, leaf litter decomposition, within logged, farmed and pristine streams. Slash-and-bum agricultural practices increased the overall rate of decomposition despite a decrease in shredder species richness (but not shredder abundance) due to increased microbial decomposition. In contrast, decomposition by microbes and invertebrates was slowed down in the logged streams, where shredders were less abundant and less species rich. This study suggests that shredder communities are less affected by traditional agricultural farming practices, while modem mechanized deforestation has an adverse effect on both shredder communities and leaf breakdown.

Item ID: 24520
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1879-1026
Keywords: ecological integrity, structural and functional indicators, decomposition, shredder assemblages, farming, logging
Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2013 05:28
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0603 Evolutionary Biology > 060301 Animal Systematics and Taxonomy @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960805 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity at Regional or Larger Scales @ 100%
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