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Nat Commun. 2015 Apr 13;6:6836. doi: 10.1038/ncomms7836.

Logging cuts the functional importance of invertebrates in tropical rainforest.

Author information

1
Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London, Silwood Park Campus, Buckhurst Road, Ascot SL5 7PY, UK.
2
1] Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London, Silwood Park Campus, Buckhurst Road, Ascot SL5 7PY, UK [2] Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia, Branisovska 31, Ceske Budejovice CZ-370 05, Czech Republic [3] Institute of Entomology, Biology Centre of Czech Academy of Sciences, Branisovska 31, Ceske Budejovice CZ-370 05, Czech Republic.
3
Faculty of Sustainable Agriculture, Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Locked Bag No. 3, Sandakan, Sabah 90509, Malaysia.
4
Institute for Tropical Biology and Conservation, Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Jln UMS, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah 88400, Malaysia.
5
1] Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London, Silwood Park Campus, Buckhurst Road, Ascot SL5 7PY, UK [2] School of Environmental Sciences, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 3GP, UK [3] Centre for Invasion Biology, Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0002, South Africa.
6
Forest Research Centre (Sepilok), Sabah Forestry Department, PO Box 1407, Sandakan, Sabah 90715, Malaysia.
7
School of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK.
8
Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK.
9
Entomology Department, Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, UK.
10
1] Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London, Silwood Park Campus, Buckhurst Road, Ascot SL5 7PY, UK [2] Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia, Branisovska 31, Ceske Budejovice CZ-370 05, Czech Republic [3] Institute of Entomology, Biology Centre of Czech Academy of Sciences, Branisovska 31, Ceske Budejovice CZ-370 05, Czech Republic [4] Institute for Tropical Biology and Conservation, Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Jln UMS, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah 88400, Malaysia.
11
Environmental Futures Research Institute and Griffith School of the Environment, Griffith University, Nathan, Queensland 4111, Australia.
12
1] School of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK [2] Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EJ, UK.
13
School of Rural, Animal and Environmental Sciences, Nottingham Trent University, Brackenhurst Campus, Southwell, Nottinghamshire NG25 0QF, UK.
14
Centre for Biological Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK.
15
Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology, School of Anthropology and Conservation, University of Kent, Canterbury CT2 7NR, UK.
16
1] Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London, Silwood Park Campus, Buckhurst Road, Ascot SL5 7PY, UK [2] Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, Regent's Park, London NW1 4RY, UK.
17
1] Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London, Silwood Park Campus, Buckhurst Road, Ascot SL5 7PY, UK [2] Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EJ, UK.

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.

PMID:
25865801
PMCID:
PMC4403313
DOI:
10.1038/ncomms7836
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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