Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 23, Issue 12, pp 3113–3126 | Cite as

Biodiversity of leaf-litter ants in fragmented tropical rainforests of Borneo: the value of publically and privately managed forest fragments

  • Noel Tawatao
  • Jennifer M. Lucey
  • Michael Senior
  • Suzan Benedick
  • Chey Vun Khen
  • Jane K. Hill
  • Keith C. Hamer
Original Paper

Abstract

In view of the rapid rate of expansion of agriculture in tropical regions, attention has focused on the potential for privately-managed rainforest patches within agricultural land to contribute to biodiversity conservation. However, these sites generally differ in their history of forest disturbance and management compared with other forest fragments, and more information is required on the biodiversity value of these privately-managed sites, particularly in oil-palm dominated landscapes of SE Asia. Here we address this issue, using tropical leaf-litter ants in rainforest fragments surrounded by mature oil palm plantations in Sabah, Borneo as a model system. We compare the species richness and composition of ant assemblages in privately-managed forest fragments (‘high conservation value’ fragments; HCVs) with those in publically-managed fragments of forest (virgin jungle reserves; VJRs) and control sites in extensive tracts of primary forest. In this way, we test the hypothesis that privately-managed and publically-managed forest fragments differ in their species richness and composition as a result of differences in history and management and hence in habitat quality. In support of this hypothesis, we found that HCVs had much poorer habitat quality than VJRs, including lower sizes and densities of trees, less canopy cover, fewer dipterocarp trees and shallower leaf litter. Consequently, HCVs supported only half the species richness of ants in VJRs, which in turn supported 70 % of the species richness of control sites, with vegetation structure and composition explaining 77 % of the variation among forest fragments in ant species richness. HCVs were also much smaller than VJRs but there was only a weak relationship between fragment size and habitat quality, and species richness was not related to fragment size. VJRs supported 78 % of the 156 species found in extensive tracts of forest whereas HCVs supported only 22 %, which was only slightly higher than the proportion previously recorded in oil palm (19 %). These data support previous findings that publically-managed VJR fragments can make an important contribution to biodiversity conservation within agricultural landscapes. However, we suggest that for these HCVs to be effective as reservoirs of biodiversity, management is required to restore vegetation structure and habitat quality, for instance through enrichment planting with native tree species.

Keywords

Biodiversity crisis Extinction Habitat loss Oil palm Species–area relationship Sustainable agriculture 

Supplementary material

10531_2014_768_MOESM1_ESM.docx (31 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 30 kb)

References

  1. Ansell FA, Edwards DP, Hamer KC (2011) Rehabilitation of logged rain forests: habitat structure, avifaunal composition and implications for biodiversity-friendly REDD+. Biotropica 43:504–511CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Benedick S, Hill JK, Mustaffa N, Chey VK, Maryati M, Searle JB, Schilthuizen M, Hamer KC (2006) Impacts of rain forest fragmentation on butterflies in northern Borneo: species richness, turnover and the value of small fragments. J Appl Ecol 43:967–977CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bestelmeyer BT (2000) The trade-off between thermal tolerance and behavioural dominance in a subtropical South American ant community. J Anim Ecol 69:998–1009CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bhagwat SA, Willis KJ (2008) RSPO principles and criteria for sustainable palm oil production. Conserv Biol 22:1368–1370PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bolton B (1994) Identification guide to ant genera of the world. Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  6. Bruhl CA, Eltz T, Linsenmair KE (2003) Size does matter—effects of tropical rainforest fragmentation on the leaf litter ant community in Sabah, Malaysia. Biodiv Conserv 12:1371–1389CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Butchart SHM, Stattersfield AJ, Bennun LA, Shutes SM, Akcakaya HR, Baillie JEM, Stuart SN, Hilton-Taylor C, Mace GM (2004) Measuring global trends in the status of biodiversity: red list indices for birds. PLos Biol 2:2294–2304CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Campos RBF, Schoereder JH, Sperber CF (2003) Local determinants of species richness in litter ant communities (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Sociobiology 41:357–367Google Scholar
  9. Carvalho KS, Vasconcelos HL (1999) Forest fragmentation in central Amazonia and its effects on litter-dwelling ants. Biol Conserv 91:151–157CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chan KMA, Daily GC (2008) The payoff of conservation investments in tropical countryside. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 105:19342–19347PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  11. Clarke KR, Warwick RM (2001) Change in marine communities: an approach to statistical analysis and interpretation, 2nd edn. Primer-E, PlymouthGoogle Scholar
  12. Crawley MJ (2007) The R book. Wiley, ChichesterCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Edwards DP, Ansell FA, Ahmad AH, Nilus R, Hamer KC (2009) The value of rehabilitating logged rainforest for birds. Conserv Biol 23:1628–1633PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Edwards DP, Hodgson JA, Hamer KC, Mitchell SL, Ahmad AH, Cornell SJ, Wilcove DS (2010) Wildlife-friendly oil palm plantations fail to protect biodiversity effectively. Conserv Lett 3:236–242CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Edwards DP, Larsen TH, Docherty TDS, Ansell FA, Hsu WW, Derhé MA, Hamer KC, Wilcove DS (2011) Degraded lands worth protecting: the biological importance of Southeast Asia’s repeatedly logged forests. Proc R Soc B 278:82–90PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  16. Edwards FA, Edwards DP, Hamer KC, Davies RG (2013a) Impacts of logging and conversion of rainforest to oil palm on the functional diversity of birds in Sundaland. Ibis 155:313–326CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Edwards FA, Edwards DP, Larsen TH, Hsu WW, Benedick S, Chey VK, Chung A, Wilcove DS, Hamer KC (2013b) Does logging and forest conversion to oil palm agriculture alter functional diversity in a biodiversity hotspot? Anim Conserv 17(2):163–173. doi:10.1111/acv.12074 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Edwards FA, Edwards DP, Sloan S, Hamer KC (2014) Sustainable management in crop monocultures: the impact of retaining forest on oil palm yield. PLoS One 9:e91695PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  19. Fayle TM, Turner EC, Foster WA (2013) Ant mosaics occur in SE Asian oil palm plantation but not rain forest and are influenced by the presence of nest-sites and non-native species. Ecography 36:1051–1057CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Fayle TM, Turner EC, Snaddon JL, Chey VK, Chung AYC, Eggleton P, Foster WA (2010) Oil palm expansion into rain forest greatly reduces ant biodiversity in canopy, epiphytes and leaf-litter. Basic Appl Ecol 11:337–345CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Fischer J, Lindenmayer DB (2002) Small patches can be valuable for biodiversity conservation: two case studies on birds in southeastern Australia. Biol Conserv 106:129–136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Fitzherbert EB, Struebig MJ, Morel A, Danielsen F, Bruhl CA, Donald PF, Phalan B (2008) How will oil palm expansion affect biodiversity? Trends Ecol Evol 23:538–545PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Foster WA, Snaddon JL, Turner EC, Fayle TM, Cockerill TD, Ellwood MDF, Broad GR, Chung AYC, Eggleton P, Chey VK, Yusah KM (2011) Establishing the evidence base for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem function in the oil palm landscapes of South East Asia. Phil Trans R Soc B 366:3277–3291PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  24. Gomes JP, Iannuzzi L, Leal IR (2010) Response of the ant community to attributes of fragments and vegetation in a northeastern Atlantic rain forest area, Brazil. Neotrop Entomol 39:898–905PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hamer KC, Hill JK, Benedick S, Mustaffa N, Sherratt TN, Maryati M, Chey VK (2003) Ecology of butterflies in natural and selectively logged forests of northern Borneo: the importance of habitat heterogeneity. J Appl Ecol 40:150–162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hamer KC, Hill JK, Lace LA, Langan AM (1997) Ecological and biogeographical effects of forest disturbance on tropical butterflies of Sumba, Indonesia. J Biogeog 24:67–75CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hashimoto Y (2003) Identification guide to ant genera of Borneo. http://www.antweb.org/borneo.jsp
  28. HCV Resource Network (2014). http://www.hcvnetwork.org/
  29. Heltshe JF, Forrester NE (1983) Estimating species richness using the jackknife procedure. Biometrics 39:1–11PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hill JK, Gray MA, Chey VK, Benedick S, Tawatao N, Hamer KC (2011) Ecological impacts of tropical forest fragmentation: how consistent are patterns in species richness and nestedness? Phil Trans R Soc B 366:3265–3276PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  31. Jennings SB, Brown ND, Sheil D (1999) Assessing forest canopies and understorey illumination: canopy closure, canopy cover and other measures. Forestry 72:59–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kaspari M (1993) Body-size and microclimate use in neotropical granivorous ants. Oecologia 96:500–507CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kaspari M (1996) Testing resource-based models of patchiness in four Neotropical litter ant assemblages. Oikos 76:443–454CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kattan GH, Alvarez-Lopez H, Giraldo M (1994) Forest fragmentation and bird extinctions –San-Antonio 80 years later. Conserv Biol 8:138–146CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Koh LP, Levang P, Ghazoul J (2009) Designer landscapes for sustainable biofuels. Trends Ecol Evol 24:431–438PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Koh LP, Wilcove DS (2008) Is oil palm agriculture really destroying tropical biodiversity? Conserv Lett 1:60–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Laurance WF (1991) Edge effects in tropical forest fragments: application of a model for the design of nature reserves. Biol Conserv 57:205–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Laurance WF (2000) Do edge effects occur over large spatial scales? Trends Ecol Evol 15:134–135PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Laurance WF, Cochrane MA (2001) Special section: Synergistic effects in fragmented landscapes. Conserv Biol 15:1488–1489CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Laurance WF, Delamonica P, Laurance SG, Vasconcelos HL, Lovejoy TE (2000) Rainforest fragmentation kills big trees. Nature 404:836PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Laurance WF, Edwards DP (2011) The search for unknown biodiversity. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 108:12971–12972PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  42. Lozano-Zambrano FH, Ulloa-Chacon P, Armbrecht I (2009) Ants: Species-area relationship in tropical dry forest fragments. Neotrop Entomol 38:44–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Lucey JM, Tawatao NB, Senior MJ, Chey VK, Benedick S, Hamer KC, Woodcock P, Newton RJ, Bottrell SH, Hill JK (2014) Tropical forest fragments contribute to species richness in adjacent oil palm plantations. Biol Conserv 169:268–276CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Magurran AE (2004) Ecological Diversity and its Measurement. Croom-Helm, LondonGoogle Scholar
  45. Magrach A, Larrinaga AR, Santamaria L (2012) Internal habitat quality determines the effects of fragmentation of austral forest climbing and epiphytic angiosperms. PLoS One 7:e48743PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  46. Marsh CW, Greer AG (1992) Forest land-use in Sabah, Malaysia—an introduction to Danum Valley. Phil Trans R Soc B 335:331–339CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Marsden SJ, Whiffin M, Geletti M (2001) Bird diversity and abundance in forest fragments and Eucalyptus plantations around an Atlantic forest reserve, Brazil. Biodiv Conserv 10:737–751CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. McMorrow J, Talip MA (2001) Decline of forest area in Sabah, Malaysia: Relationship to state policies, land code and land capability. Glob Environ Change Human Policy Dimen 11:217–230CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Meijer W, Wood GHS (1964) Dipterocarps of Sabah (North Borneo). Sabah Forest Record No. 5. Forest Department, Sandakan, Sabah, MalaysiaGoogle Scholar
  50. Miettinen J, Shi C, Liew SC (2011) Deforestation rates in insular Southeast Asia between 2000 and 2010. Glob Change Biol 17:2261–2270CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Milton Y, Kaspari M (2007) Bottom-up and top-down regulation of decomposition in a tropical forest. Oecologia 153:163–172PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Myers N, Mittermeier RA, Mittermeier CG, da Fonseca GAB, Kent J (2000) Biodiversity hotspots for conservation priorities. Nature 403:853–858PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Muñoz JC, Aerts R, Thijs KW, Stevenson PR, Muys B, Sekercioglu CH (2013) Contribution of woody habitat islands to the conservation of birds and their potential ecosystem services in an extensive Columbian rangeland. Agric Ecosyst Environ 173:13–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Newman MF, Burgess PF, Whitmore TC (1996) Manuals of Dipterocarps for foresters: Borneo Island light hardwoods. Royal Botanical Gardens, EdinburghGoogle Scholar
  55. Newman MF, Burgess PF, Whitmore TC (1998) Manuals of Dipterocarps for foresters: Borneo Island medium and heavy hardwoods. Royal Botanical Gardens, EdinburghGoogle Scholar
  56. Oksanen J, Blanchet FG, Kindt R, Legendre P, Minchin PR, O’Hara RB, Simpson GL, Solymos P, Henry M, Stevens H, Wagner H (2013) Package ‘vegan’. http://www.cran.r-project.org/web/packages/vegan/vegan.pdf
  57. Pardini R, Marques de Sousa S, Braga-Neto R, Metzger JP (2005) The role of forest structure, fragment size and corridors in maintaining small mammal abundance and diversity in an Atlantic forest landscape. Biol Conserv 124:253–266CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Pfeiffer M, Mezger G (2012) Biodiversity assessment in incomplete inventories: leaf litter ant communities in several types of Bornean rain forest. PLoS One 7:e40729PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  59. Philpott SM, Perfecto I, Vandermeer J (2008) Effects of predatory ants on lower trophic levels across a gradient of coffee management complexity. J Anim Ecol 77:505–511PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Picozzi N, Catt DC, Moss R (1992) Evaluating capercaillie habitat. J Appl Ecol 29:751–762CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Prugh LR, Hodges KE, Sinclair ARE, Brashares JS (2008) Effect of habitat area and isolation on fragmented animal populations. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 105:20770–20775PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  62. Scherr SJ, McNeely JA (2008) Biodiversity conservation and agricultural sustainability: towards a new paradigm of ‘ecoagriculture’ landscapes. Phil Trans R Soc B 363:477–494PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  63. Senior MJM, Hamer KC, Bottrell S, Edwards DP, Fayle TM, Lucey JM, Mayhew PJ, Newton R, Peh KS-H, Sheldon FH, Stewart C, Styring AR, Thom MDF, Woodcock P, Hill JK (2012) Trait-dependent declines of species following conversion of rain forest to oil palm plantations. Biodiv Conserv 22:253–268CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Silva PSD, Bieber AGD, Correa MM, Leal IR (2011) Do leaf-litter attributes affect the richness of leaf-litter ants? Neotrop Entomol 40:542–547PubMedGoogle Scholar
  65. Smith EP, Van Belle G (1984) Non-parametric estimation of species richness. Biometrics 40:119–129CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Sodhi NS, Koh LP, Clements R, Wanger TC, Hill JK, Hamer KC, Clough Y, Tscharntke T, Rose M, Posa C, Lee TM (2010) Conserving Southeast Asian forest biodiversity in human-modified landscapes. Biol Conserv 143:2375–2384CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Tarabelli M, Pinto LP, Silva JM, Hirota M, Bede L (2005) Challenges and opportunities for biodiversity conservation in the Brazilian Atlantic forest. Conserv Biol 19:695–700CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Tilman D, Reich PB, Knops J, Wedin D, Mielke T, Lehman C (2001) Diversity and productivity in a long-term grassland experiment. Science 294:843–845PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Torquebiau EF (1986) Mosaic patterns in Dipterocarp rain forest in Indonesia and their implications for practical forestry. J Trop Ecol 2:301–325CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Uezu A, Metzger JP (2011) Vanishing bird species in the Atlantic Forest: relative importance of landscape configuration, forest structure and species characteristics. Biodiv Conserv 20:3627–3643CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Walsh RPD, Bidin K, Blake WH, Chappell NA, Clarke MA, Douglas I, Ghazali R, Sayer AM, Suhaimi J, Tych W, Annammala KV (2011) Long-term responses of rainforest erosional systems at different spatial scales to selective logging and climatic change. Phil Trans R Soc B 366:3340–3353PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  72. Wilson EO, Holldobler B (2005) The rise of the ants: a phylogenetic and ecological explanation. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 102:7411–7414PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  73. Woodcock P, Edwards DP, Fayle TM, Newton R, Chey VK, Bottrell S, Hamer KC (2011) The conservation value of South East Asia’s highly degraded forests: evidence from leaf-litter ants. Phil Trans R Soc B 366:3256–3264PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  74. Woodcock P, Edwards DP, Newton R, Chey VK, Bottrell S, Hamer KC (2013) Impacts of intensive logging on the trophic organisation of ant communities in a biodiversity hotspot. PLoS One 8:e60756PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Noel Tawatao
    • 1
  • Jennifer M. Lucey
    • 1
  • Michael Senior
    • 1
  • Suzan Benedick
    • 2
  • Chey Vun Khen
    • 3
  • Jane K. Hill
    • 1
  • Keith C. Hamer
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of YorkYorkUK
  2. 2.School of Sustainable AgricultureUniversiti Malaysia SabahSandakanMalaysia
  3. 3.Forest Research CentreSandakanMalaysia
  4. 4.School of BiologyUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK

Personalised recommendations