Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 253–268

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

  • Michael J. M. Senior
  • Keith C. Hamer
  • Simon Bottrell
  • David P. Edwards
  • Tom M. Fayle
  • Jennifer M. Lucey
  • Peter J. Mayhew
  • Robert Newton
  • Kelvin S.-H. Peh
  • Frederick H. Sheldon
  • Christopher Stewart
  • Alison R. Styring
  • Michael D. F. Thom
  • Paul Woodcock
  • Jane K. Hill
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10531-012-0419-7

Cite this article as:
Senior, M.J.M., Hamer, K.C., Bottrell, S. et al. Biodivers Conserv (2013) 22: 253. doi:10.1007/s10531-012-0419-7

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.

Keywords

BiodiversityElaeis guineensisMalaysiaSE AsiaStable isotope

Supplementary material

10531_2012_419_MOESM1_ESM.doc (35 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 35 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael J. M. Senior
    • 1
  • Keith C. Hamer
    • 2
  • Simon Bottrell
    • 3
  • David P. Edwards
    • 2
    • 4
  • Tom M. Fayle
    • 5
    • 6
  • Jennifer M. Lucey
    • 1
  • Peter J. Mayhew
    • 1
  • Robert Newton
    • 2
  • Kelvin S.-H. Peh
    • 7
  • Frederick H. Sheldon
    • 8
  • Christopher Stewart
    • 9
  • Alison R. Styring
    • 10
  • Michael D. F. Thom
    • 1
  • Paul Woodcock
    • 2
  • Jane K. Hill
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of YorkYorkUK
  2. 2.Institute of Integrative and Comparative Biology, University of LeedsLeedsUK
  3. 3.School of Earth and EnvironmentUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK
  4. 4.School of Marine and Tropical BiologyJames Cook UniversityCairnsAustralia
  5. 5.Faculty of ScienceUniversity of South BohemiaCeske BudejoviceCzech Republic
  6. 6.Forest Ecology and Conservation GroupImperial College LondonAscotUK
  7. 7.Conservation Science Group, Department of ZoologyUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK
  8. 8.Museum of Natural Science and Department of Biological SciencesLouisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA
  9. 9.Proforest, South Suite, Frewin Chambers, Frewin CourtOxfordUK
  10. 10.The Evergreen State CollegeOlympiaUSA