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Title The impact of land use type on the diversity of ants in the LAMTO region (Côte d’Ivoire)

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Author(s) Koné, M.(1); Konaté, S.(2); Linsenmair, K.E.(3)

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Institution(s) (1) University of Cocody (Côte d’Ivoire); (2) University of Abobo-Adjamé; (3) University of Würzburg

Keywords Soil invertebrates, ants, land use system, bioindicators

Abstract Soil invertebrates are essential elements in soil fertility conservation. Their disappearance will negatively influence soil quality. Ants play here a particularly important role and possess in addition the potential of constituting bioindicators suited for characterizing different states of natural and man-made ecosystems. Our study took place in the Lamto Reserve located in the transition zone between forest and savanna in Côte d’Ivoire, with high human pressure on natural resources (via forest conversion into agricultural land). The aim of our study was to assess the diversity of ants along the main land use type in the region (strictly protected forest, rural forest located around the cultivated zones, among others cocoa and pineapple plantations) with the perspective of using the ants as indicators of habitat quality. In the protected forest we sampled 73 species, belonging to 33 genera and 7 subfamilies, in the rural forest it were 76 species belonging to 35 genera and 8 subfamilies. In agriculturally used fields (yam, taro, banana, maize and aubergine) species richness was lower with 61 species, belonging to 22 genera 7 subfamilies, but not significant compared to the two forests. Cocoa plantation sampling resulted in 45 species, belonging to 22 genera 5 subfamilies and pineapple plantations possessed with 19 ant species (9 genera of 3 subfamilies) the by far poorest communities. Analyzing subfamilies we noticed that Formicinae and Ponerinae are most sensitive to habitat disturbance while Myrmicinae are less sensitive to disturbance. Some Myrmicinae like Tetramorium sericeiventre, Pheidole excellens and Camponotus acvapimensis showed a high preference for disturbed habitats pointing to their use as potential bioindicators. Three main conclusions can be drawn: ant diversity decreases with increasing land use intensity. Rural forests, although used and therewith altered in regard to e.g. woody species composition and abundance provide a refuge for a considerable part of the ant community found in natural forest. Some ants are potential candidates for bioindicators.

Congress Topic Land use, impact and value

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Ref. No. 624