Termite diversity and species composition in heath forests, mixed dipterocarp forests, and pristine and selectively logged tropical peat swamp forests in Brunei
Since the 1970s Southeast Asian peat swamp forests have been increasingly threatened by anthropogenic disturbance. Peat swamps act as refuge for many endangered species, and they may turn into a net producer of CO2 and greatly contribute to climate change if cleared and drained. As one of the main invertebrate decomposers in the tropics, termites are likely to play a major role in peat forests. In this paper, we used a grid-based sampling plot protocol to sample termites in Brunei. We sampled termite communities in pristine and selectively logged peat swamp forests, that we compared with termite communities sampled in heath and dipterocarp forests. More precisely, we determined: (i) termite species diversity in peat swamp forests, and (ii) how termites respond to peat swamp logging. We found that species richness was the highest in the mixed dipterocarp forest. Selective logging had limited impact on species richness in peat swamp forest, suggesting that termite communities are resilient to limited amount of perturbations. Further data are needed to better understand the impact peat swamp clearance has on termite populations and their contribution to climate change.
KeywordsBiodiversity Brunei Conservation biology Community ecology Southeast Asia Species richness
We thank Maria L.A. Lan, Amy Chua, Alexander Cobb, Jangarun Eri, and Lee Gang for logistic support and field assistance. This work was supported by the LHK fund of the National University of Singapore; by the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology; by the OP Research Development and Education (EVA4.0 grant No. CZ.02.1.01/0.0/0.0/16_019/0000803); and by the Internal Grant Agency of Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences, Czech University of Life Sciences, Prague (IGA 13/17). CALD was financially supported by the IGA fund of the Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences, Czech University of Life Sciences, Prague (No. B03/15).
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