Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 22, Issue 9, pp 2057–2070 | Cite as

Leaf-litter herpetofaunal richness, abundance, and community assembly in mono-dominant plantations and primary forest of northeastern Costa Rica

  • Brian Folt
  • Kelsey E. Reider
Original Paper


Given current deforestation and land-use change in species-rich tropical forests, a pressing need in conservation biology is to understand how converted, human-modified landscapes support biodiversity. Here, we measured the species richness, abundance, and community composition of amphibians and reptiles in reference primary forest and mono-dominant plantations of three native tree species (Pentaclethra macroloba, Virola koschnyi, Vochysia guatemalensis) at La Selva Biological Station in the Caribbean lowlands of northern Costa Rica. Because these plantation species generate markedly different forest-floor habitats, we hypothesized that tree species would support different assemblages of leaf-litter herpetofauna. Primary forest, Virola, and Vochysia supported greater richness of frogs than Pentaclethra. Frog densities were significantly lower in Pentaclethra and Vochysia than in nearby primary forest. Using non-metric multidimensional scaling and permutational multivariate analysis of variance, we found Pentaclethra to support significantly different assemblages of frogs and lizards than primary forest reference sites, while Vochysia supported a unique assemblage of frogs. Our results suggest that some tree species plantations can support herpetofaunal assemblages comparable to primary forest in richness, community assembly, and abundance. While herpetofaunal community ecology varies among plantation species, our study provides a compelling example of how plantation landscapes can facilitate the restoration of native fauna on degraded landscapes.


Conservation Frogs Lizards Neotropics Virola koschnyi Vochysia guatemalensis 



We thank the staff of La Selva Biological Station and the ECOS project (notably, A.E. Russell, E. Paniagua, and R. Bedoya). We also thank B. Shapiro, R. Mata, J. Stynoski, S. Reilly, D. Miles, G. DiRenzo, M. Donnelly, L. Linhoff, D. Steen, C. Murray, C. Guyer, and M. Isola for field help, project advice, and constructive comments on the manuscript. We also thank two anonymous reviewers for providing helpful comments on the manuscript. The National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates program, the Ohio University Provost Undergraduate Research Fund, and the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles provided financial support. This study complied with the animal care guidelines of OTS, Florida International University IACUC Permit 09-016, and MINAET Resolución #145-2009-SINAC.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesOhio UniversityAthensUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biological SciencesFlorida International UniversityMiamiUSA
  3. 3.Department of Biological SciencesAuburn UniversityAuburnUSA

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