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RAPID RECOVERY OF DUNG BEETLE COMMUNITIES FOLLOWING HABITAT FRAGMENTATION IN CENTRAL AMAZONIA

by T Roslin, I Quintero, Rosli
Ecology ()

Abstract

Few studies have directly assessed how rapidly functionally important insectcommunities recover following rain forest loss and fragmentation. In 1986, B. Klein comparedthe dung and carrion beetle assemblages of clearcuts, fragmented, and non-fragmentedforests in central Amazonia, reporting drastic short-term changes in community composition.Fifteen years later, we resampled the same sites using identical techniques and foundthat, with the regrowth of secondary vegetation between forest fragments, the initial differenceshad largely disappeared. As the secondary vegetation itself supports dung beetleassemblages similar to those of continuous forest, we conclude that, from the perspectiveof the dung beetles, the experimentally fragmented area had returned to a continuous statewithin approximately one decade. These results offer some good news for the conservationof tropical ecosystems, since they suggest that conditions favorable for functionally importantarthropods may be quickly restored by secondary regrowth. They also suggest thatthe preservation of forest fragments and secondary vegetation may provide an importantcomplement to the conservation of intact mature forest

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