Global dung beetle response to tropical forest modification and fragmentation : a quantitative literature review and meta-analysis
Scarabaeinae Research Network
Contributor(s)Davis, Adrian L.V.
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AbstractAlthough insects are crucial for maintaining ecosystem function, our understanding of their overall response to human activity remains limited. This is no less true of dung-burying beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Scarabaeinae), which provide a suite of critical ecosystem functions and services, yet but face multiple conservation threats, particularly from landscape conversion. Here we use a review and meta-analysis to synthesize the current knowledge concerning response to tropical forest modification and fragmentation of dung beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Scarabaeinae). For every modified habitat type and individual forest fragment across 33 studies, we calculated six dung beetle community parameters, standardized relative to intact tropical forest. We organized modified habitats along an approximate disturbance gradient ranging from selectively logged, late and early secondary forest, through agroforestry, tree plantations, to annual crops, cattle pastures and clear-cuts. Secondary forests, selectively logged forest and agroforests supported rich communities with many intact forest species, while cattle pastures and clear-cuts contained fewer species overall with few forest-dwelling species. Abundance generally declined with increasing modification, but was quite variable. Communities in open habitats were often characterized by hyper-abundance of a small number of small-bodied species, leading to low evenness. Across fragmentation studies, dung beetle species richness, abundance and evenness declined in smaller forest fragments. Richness and abundance sometimes declined in more isolated fragments, although this response appeared to depend on matrix quality. Across both habitat modification and fragmentation studies, geographic location and landscape context appeared to modify dung beetle response by influencing the available pool of colonists. We discuss potential underlying mechanisms and conclude with recommendations for management and conservation and for future research.
This review was fostered by the Scarabaeinae Research Network (ScarabNet), of which the authors are members. ScarabNet and this material are based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DEB-0043443 to S. Spector (PI), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under the agreement New Ways to See, Understand, Teach and Conserve Biological Diversity (NAG5-12333) at the American Museum of Natural History and the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History.
Nichols, E, Larsen, T, Spector, S, Davis, AL, Escobar, F, Favila, M, Vulinec, K & The Scarabaeinae Research Network 2007. ‘Global dung beetle response to tropical forest modification and fragmentation : a quantitative literature review and meta-analysis’, Biological Conservation, vol. 137, issue 1, pp. 1-19[http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/00063207]