Dung beetles as indicators for rapid impact assessments:Evaluating best practice forestry in the neotropics

Bicknell, Jake E., Phelps, Simon P., Davies, Richard G. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0145-0818, Mann, Darren J., Struebig, Matthew J. and Davies, Zoe G. (2014) Dung beetles as indicators for rapid impact assessments:Evaluating best practice forestry in the neotropics. Ecological Indicators, 43. pp. 154-161. ISSN 1470-160X

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Abstract

Dung beetles (Scarabaeidae: Scarabaeinae) are sensitive to habitat perturbations and are easily studied, making them an ideal taxonomic group with which to evaluate the effects of low-intensity anthropogenic disturbances such as Reduced-Impact Logging. Here we examine the effect of a certified Reduced-Impact Logging operation on dung beetles, and demonstrate their suitability for use in rapid ecological impact studies. We sampled dung beetle assemblages, environmental variables and timber extraction rates across four treatment groups in closed canopy and canopy gaps in logged and unlogged forest in Guyana. Community analysis revealed that logged forest supported a more uniform dung beetle assemblage compared to unlogged forest. Differences in assemblage structure were driven by dissimilarity between closed canopy treatments, as plots in artificial and natural canopy gaps supported comparable assemblages. Indicator analyses were conducted across treatments, using a new approach (CLAM) and two well-established methods (IndVal, SIMPER). Two species respectively were classified as indicators of logged (Hansreia affinis and Eurysternus caribaeus) and unlogged forest (Canthidium aff. centrale and Deltochilum (Calhyboma) carinatum). BIO-ENV analysis demonstrated that tree extraction intensity, bare ground cover, and ground cover by leaf material were key factors influencing dung beetle assemblages. Despite the relatively low-impact of Reduced-Impact Logging reported by previous studies, we find that dung beetles are sensitive to even small changes in environmental conditions as a result of this form of anthropogenic disturbance. As dung beetles are a highly responsive taxonomic group, we illustrate that they represent a valuable taxon that can be used to critically evaluate best practice forestry operations and other disturbance activities, particularly in time constrained studies (e.g., rapid monitoring and environmental impact assessments). However, we recommend the use of multiple indicator analyses to monitor potential changes in assemblage composition, due to a lack of congruence between methods.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding Information: Reference collections are deposited in the Centre for the Study of Biological Diversity, University of Guyana and the Hope Entomological Collections, Oxford University Museum of Natural History. We are grateful to M. Barclay at the Natural History Museum who provided sampling equipment for the duration of the project. Fieldwork was funded by the Guiana Shield Initiative, Iwokrama International Centre (IIC), University of East Anglia and the Sir Philip Reckitt Educational Trust. PhD funding was provided by the University of Kent under a 50th anniversary scholarship. Finally, we would like to extend personal thanks to the team at Iwokrama for assistance in the field, and J. Barlow for useful feedback on a previous draft of this manuscript. Research permission was granted by the Guyana Environmental Protection Agency.
Uncontrolled Keywords: clam,forest disturbance,guyana,indicator species,indval,reduced-impact logging,decision sciences(all),ecology, evolution, behavior and systematics,ecology ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1800
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Biological Sciences
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2023 13:30
Last Modified: 25 Jan 2023 15:31
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/90799
DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2014.02.030

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