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Title Effects of forest fragmentation and disturbance on biodiversity and ecosystem functions in an African rainforest

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Short title Diversity and ecosystem functions in a rainforest

Author(s) Schleuning, M.(1); Farwig, N.(1); Althof, A.(2); Berens, D.(1); Bergsdorf, T.(3); Bleher, B.(1); Brenner, A.(3); Dalitz, H.(4); Fischer, E.(2); Fischer, G.(3); Freund, W.(3); Gikungu, M.W.(5); Gliniars, R.(4); Hagen, M.(5); Hita Garcia, F.(3); Kaib, M.(6); Kirika, J.M.(1); Kraemer, M.(5); Kraus, T. (7); Kühne, L.(3); Lung, T.(7); Malombe, I.(2); Mitchell, N.(7); Musila, W.(4); Peters, M.K.(3); Schaab, G.(7); Theisen, I.(2); Todt, H.(4); Uster, D. (4); Wägele, J.W.(3); Yeshitela, K.(2); Böhning-Gaese, K.(1)

Presenting author Schleuning, M.

Institution(s) (1) Institute of Zoology, University of Mainz; (2) Botany, University of Koblenz-Landau; (3) Museum Alexander König, Bonn; (4) Faculty of Botany, University of Hohenheim; (5) Biological Collection, University of Bielefeld; (6) Animal Physiology, University of Bayreuth; (7) Faculty of Geomatics, Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences

Keywords Biodiversity inventory; community composition; human disturbance; Kakamega Forest; species interaction

Abstract Habitat fragmentation and degradation are important drivers of biodiversity loss, but little is known about their combined effects on the diversity of plant and animal taxa and on ecosystem functions like predation, dispersal, and regeneration. Here, we present an analysis of the effects of forest fragmentation and disturbance on biodiversity and ecosystem functions in a tropical rainforest based on data collected in Kakamega Forest (Kenya) over several years. Forest fragmentation and disturbance did not affect the overall diversity of trees, birds, and rodents, while ant diversity decreased with forest disturbance. Species composition of trees and ants changed with distance from forest edge, while bird species composition differed between main forest and fragments. Ecosystem functions were also affected by fragmentation and disturbance. Lichen diversity decreased, but seed removal by frugivorous birds and predation by army ants increased with forest disturbance, while antbird predation and tree regeneration were lower in fragments than in the main forest. We conclude that different taxa respond differently to forest fragmentation and disturbance, whose effects on species composition are stronger than on diversity. Changes in community composition in response to human-induced habitat change are important because ecosystem functions are sensitive to the identity of the interacting species.

Congress Topic Process Analysis

Topic No. 2.5
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