Logging cuts the functional importance of invertebrates in tropical rainforest

Ewers, Robert M., Boyle, Michael J. W., Gleave, Rosalind A., Plowman, Nichola S., Benedick, Suzan, Bernard, Henry, Bishop, Tom R., Bakhtiar, Effendi Y., Chey, Vun Khen, Chung, Arthur Y. C., Davies, Richard G., Edwards, David P., Eggleton, Paul, Fayle, Tom M., Hardwick, Stephen R., Homathevi, Rahman, Kitching, Roger L., Khoo, Min Sheng, Luke, Sarah H., March, Joshua J., Nilus, Reuben, Pfeifer, Marion, Rao, Sri V., Sharp, Adam C., Snaddon, Jake L., Stork, Nigel E., Struebig, Matthew J., Wearn, Oliver R., Yusah, Kalsum M. and Turner, Edgar C. (2015) Logging cuts the functional importance of invertebrates in tropical rainforest. Nature Communications, 6. ISSN 2041-1723

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    Abstract

    Invertebrates are dominant species in primary tropical rainforests, where their abundance and diversity contributes to the functioning and resilience of these globally important ecosystems. However, more than one-third of tropical forests have been logged, with dramatic impacts on rainforest biodiversity that may disrupt key ecosystem processes. We find that the contribution of invertebrates to three ecosystem processes operating at three trophic levels (litter decomposition, seed predation and removal, and invertebrate predation) is reduced by up to one-half following logging. These changes are associated with decreased abundance of key functional groups of termites, ants, beetles and earthworms, and an increase in the abundance of small mammals, amphibians and insectivorous birds in logged relative to primary forest. Our results suggest that ecosystem processes themselves have considerable resilience to logging, but the consistent decline of invertebrate functional importance is indicative of a human-induced shift in how these ecological processes operate in tropical rainforests.

    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
    Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Biological Sciences
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    Depositing User: Pure Connector
    Date Deposited: 24 Sep 2016 01:03
    Last Modified: 03 Oct 2018 00:53
    URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/59789
    DOI: 10.1038/ncomms7836

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