, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 591-605
Date: 29 Dec 2012

Effects of remnant primary forests on ant and dung beetle species diversity in a secondary forest in Sarawak, Malaysia

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Tropical landscape structures have been transformed into mosaic structures consisting of small patches of primary and secondary forests, and areas of other land use. Diversity of insect assemblages is often higher in primary forests than in surrounding secondary forests. However, little is known about how the primary forests affect diversity in surrounding secondary forests in a landscape. In Sarawak, Malaysia, the typical landscape in areas from which lowland tropical rainforests had originally spread consists mainly of primary and secondary forests, with small areas of cultivation. In this study, we examined how the proportion of remnant primary forests in a landscape affects species diversity and species composition of ants and dung beetles in Macaranga-dominated secondary forests. The proportions were quantified based on remote-sensing data at various spatial scales, ranging from 100- to 5,000-m radius from each of the target forests. We found that the proportions of remnant primary forests within a 100-m radius had a significant positive effect on ant species diversity, and those within 100-, 300-, and 500-m radii significantly affected species compositions. However, the proportions of remnant primary forests had no significant relationship with dung beetle diversity, while those within 100- and 1,000-m radii had significant effects on species composition. The different responses to the remnant primary forests are likely to be related to differences in the movement and dispersal traits between the two taxa.