Trait-dependent declines of species following conversion of rain forest to oil palm plantations

Senior, Michael J.M., Hamer, Keith C., Bottrell, Simon, Edwards, David P., Fayle, Tom M., Lucey, Jennifer M., Mayhew, Peter J., Newton, Robert, Peh, Kelvin S-H., Sheldon, Frederick H., Stewart, Christopher, Styrring, Alison R., Thom, Michael D.F., Woodcock, Paul, and Hill, Jane K. (2013) Trait-dependent declines of species following conversion of rain forest to oil palm plantations. Biodiversity and Conservation, 22 (1). pp. 253-268.

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Abstract

Conversion of natural habitats to agriculture reduces species richness, particularly in highly diverse tropical regions, but its effects on species composition are less well-studied. The conversion of rain forest to oil palm is of particular conservation concern globally, and we examined how it affects the abundance of birds, beetles, and ants according to their local population size, body size, geographical range size, and feeding guild or trophic position. We re-analysed data from six published studies representing 487 species/genera to assess the relative importance of these traits in explaining changes in abundance following forest conversion. We found consistent patterns across all three taxa, with large-bodied, abundant forest species from higher trophic levels, declining most in abundance following conversion of forest to oil palm. Best-fitting models explained 39–66 % of the variation in abundance changes for the three taxa, and included all ecological traits that we considered. Across the three taxa, those few species found in oil palm tended to be small-bodied species, from lower trophic levels, that had low local abundances in forest. These species were often hyper-abundant in oil palm plantations. These results provide empirical evidence of consistent responses to land-use change among taxonomic groups in relation to ecological traits.

Item ID: 33391
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1572-9710
Keywords: biodiversity, Elaeis guineensis, Malaysia, SE Asia, stable isotope
Funders: NERC, Proforest, European Social Fund, Czech Republic, Yayasan Sime Darby
Projects and Grants: CZ.1.07/2.3.00/20.0064
Date Deposited: 27 May 2014 04:04
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050104 Landscape Ecology @ 30%
07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0701 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management > 070102 Agricultural Land Planning @ 30%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 40%
SEO Codes: 82 PLANT PRODUCTION AND PLANT PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8298 Environmentally Sustainable Plant Production > 829899 Environmentally Sustainable Plant Production not elsewhere classified @ 40%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960804 Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960806 Forest and Woodlands Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 30%
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