Agroforestry systems as habitat for herpetofauna: is there supporting evidence?
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- Palacios, C.P., Agüero, B. & Simonetti, J.A. Agroforest Syst (2013) 87: 517. doi:10.1007/s10457-012-9571-z
The need to carry out biological conservation outside protected areas requires avoiding, minimizing or mitigating impacts brought about by habitat transformation upon the biota. Usually, forest plantations hold fewer species than the original forest. However, structurally complex plantations support more species and individuals than simpler ones. Here we test if this phenomenon occurs in amphibian and reptilian assemblages, analyzing information regarding their richness and abundance in forestry plantations from 14 countries and 72 case studies which compare species richness and abundance in plantations and forests. Among amphibians, species richness is lower in plantations than in forests while among reptiles there is no significant difference. The abundance of reptiles increases in plantations. Three studies dealt with reptile assemblages in relation to structural complexity of plantation, which suggest that species richness and abundance is higher in complex plantations. Despite accounting for 50 % of the terrestrial vertebrates, herpetological studies account for 15 % of the research available regarding the impact of plantation upon vertebrates, information deficiency that hampers decision-making on the conservation of herpetozoans outside protected areas.