Replacing low-intensity cattle pasture with oil palm conserves dung beetle functional diversity when paired with forest protection

Davies, Robert W., Edwards, David P., Medina-Uribe, Claudia A., Cárdenas-Bautista, Johann S., Haugaasen, Torbjørn, Gilroy, James J. ORCID: and Edwards, Felicity A. (2021) Replacing low-intensity cattle pasture with oil palm conserves dung beetle functional diversity when paired with forest protection. Journal of Environmental Management, 283. ISSN 0301-4797

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Meeting rising demand for oil palm whilst minimizing the loss of tropical biodiversity and associated ecosystem functions is a core conservation challenge. One potential solution is focusing the expansion of high-yielding crops on presently low-yielding farmlands alongside protecting nearby tropical forests that can enhance provision of ecosystem functions. A key question is how this solution would impact invertebrate functional diversity. We focus on oil palm in the Colombian Llanos, where plantations are replacing improved cattle pastures and forest fragments, and on dung beetles, which play key functional roles in nutrient cycling and secondary seed dispersal. We show that functional richness and functional diversity of dung beetles is greater in oil palm than in cattle pasture, and that functional metrics did not differ between oil palm and remnant forest. The abundance-size class profile of dung beetles in oil palm was more similar to forest than to pasture, which had lower abundances of the smallest and largest dung beetles. The abundance of tunneling and rolling dung beetles did not differ between oil palm and forest, while higher forest cover increased the abundance of diurnal and generalist-feeding beetles in oil palm landscapes. This suggests that prioritizing agricultural development on low-yielding cattle pasture will have positive effects on functional diversity and highlights the need for forest protection to maintain ecosystem functioning within agricultural landscapes.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: agriculture,ecosystem function,grassland,landscape configuration,neotropics,scarabaeidae,environmental engineering,waste management and disposal,management, monitoring, policy and law ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/2300/2305
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
Faculty of Science > School of Biological Sciences
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 13 Feb 2021 01:04
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2022 02:13
DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2021.112009

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