Browsing by Subject "DEFORESTATION"

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  • Kemp, James; López-Baucells, Adrià; Rocha, Ricardo; Wangensteen, Owen S.; Andriatafika, Zo Emmanuel; Nair, Abhilash; Cabeza, Mar (2019)
    The conversion of natural habitats to agriculture is one of the main drivers of biotic change. Madagascar is no exception and land-use change, mostly driven by slash-and-burn agriculture, is impacting the island's exceptional biodiversity. Although most species are negatively affected by agricultural expansion, some, such as synanthropic bats, are capable of exploring newly available resources and benefit from man-made agricultural ecosystems. As bats are known predators of agricultural pests it seems possible that Malagasy bats may be preferentially foraging within agricultural areas and therefore provide important pest suppression services. To investigate the potential role of bats as pest suppressors, we conducted acoustic surveys of insectivorous bats in and around Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar, during November and December 2015. We surveyed five landcover types: irrigated rice, hillside rice, secondary vegetation, forest fragment and continuous forest. 9569 bat passes from a regional assemblage of 19 species were recorded. In parallel, we collected faeces from the six most common bat species to detect insect pest species in their diet using DNA metabarcoding. Total bat activity was higher over rice fields when compared to forest and bats belonging to the open space and edge space sonotypes were the most benefited by the conversion of forest to hillside and irrigated rice. Two economically important rice pests were detected in the faecal samples collected - the paddy swarming armyworm Spodoptera mauritia was detected in Mops leucogaster samples while the grass webworm Herpetogramma licarsisalis was detected from Mormopterus jugularis and Miniopterus majori samples. Other crops pests detected included the sugarcane cicada Yanga guttulata, the macadamia nut-borer Thaumatotibia batrachopa and the sober tabby Ericeia inangulata (a pest of citrus fruits). Samples from all bat species also contained reads from important insect disease vectors. In light of our results we argue that Malagasy insectivorous bats have the potential to suppress agricultural pests. It is important to retain and maximise Malagasy bat populations as they may contribute to higher agricultural yields and promote sustainable livelihoods.
  • de Moura, Yhasmin Mendes; Balzter, Heiko; Galvão, Lênio S.; Dalagnol, Ricardo; Espírito-Santo, Fernando; Santos, Erone G.; Garcia, Mariano; Bispo, Polyanna Da Conceição; Oliveira, Raimundo C.; Shimabukuro, Yosio E. (2020)
    Tropical forests hold significant amounts of carbon and play a critical role on Earth ' s climate system. To date, carbon dynamics over tropical forests have been poorly assessed, especially over vast areas of the tropics that have been affected by some type of disturbance (e.g., selective logging, understory fires, and fragmentation). Understanding the multi-temporal dynamics of carbon stocks over human-modified tropical forests (HMTF) is crucial to close the carbon cycle balance in the tropics. Here, we used multi-temporal and high-spatial resolution airborne LiDAR data to quantify rates of carbon dynamics over a large patch of HMTF in eastern Amazon, Brazil. We described a robust approach to monitor changes in aboveground forest carbon stocks between 2012 and 2018. Our results showed that this particular HMTF lost 0.57 myr(-1) in mean forest canopy height and 1.38 MgCha(-1)yr(-1) of forest carbon between 2012 and 2018. LiDAR-based estimates of Aboveground Carbon Density (ACD) showed progressive loss through the years, from 77.9 MgCha(-1) in 2012 to 53.1 MgCha(-1) in 2018, thus a decrease of 31.8%. Rates of carbon stock changes were negative for all time intervals analyzed, yielding average annual carbon loss rates of -1.34 MgCha(-1)yr(-1). This suggests that this HMTF is acting more as a source of carbon than a sink, having great negative implications for carbon emission scenarios in tropical forests. Although more studies of forest dynamics in HMTFs are necessary to reduce the current remaining uncertainties in the carbon cycle, our results highlight the persistent effects of carbon losses for the study area. HMTFs are likely to expand across the Amazon in the near future. The resultant carbon source conditions, directly associated with disturbances, may be essential when considering climate projections and carbon accounting methods.
  • Larjavaara, Markku; Kanninen, Markku Tapani; Alam, Syed Ashraful; Mäkinen, Antti; Poeplau, Christopher (2017)
    Land use directly impacts ecosystem carbon and indirectly influences atmospheric carbon. Computing ecosystem carbon for an area experiencing changes in land use is not trivial, as carbon densities change slowly after land-use changes. We developed a tool, CarboScen, to estimate ecosystem carbon in landscapes. It is a simple tool typically used with an annual time step, and is based on carbon pools and densities. It assumes that carbon density asymptotically approaches a value, which is set for the land-use type in question. We recommend CarboScen for landscapes with spatially relatively homogenous soils and climate, multiple land uses, and changes between these leading to slow changes in carbon densities because either soil organic carbon is included in the analysis or afforestation occurs. Thanks to its simplicity, it is particularly suitable for participatory planning, rapid assessment of REDD+ project potential, and educational use.
  • Horton, Alexander J.; Nygren, Anja; Miguel, Diaz Perera; Kummu, Matti (2021)
    Anthropogenic activities are altering flood frequency-magnitude distributions along many of the world's large rivers. Yet isolating the impact of any single factor amongst the multitudes of competing anthropogenic drivers is a persistent challenge. The Usumacinta River in southeastern Mexico provides an opportunity to study the anthropogenic driver of tropical forest conversion in isolation, as the long meteorological and discharge records capture the river's response to large-scale agricultural expansion without interference from development activities such as dams or channel modifications. We analyse continuous daily time series of precipitation, temperature, and discharge to identify long-term trends, and employ a novel approach to disentangle the signal of deforestation by normalising daily discharges by 90-day mean precipitation volumes from the contributing area in order to account for climatic variability. We also identify an anthropogenic signature of tropical forest conversion at the intra-annual scale, reproduce this signal using a distributed hydrological model (VMOD), and demonstrate that the continued conversion of tropical forest to agricultural land use will further exacerbate large-scale flooding. We find statistically significant increasing trends in annual minimum, mean, and maximum discharges that are not evident in either precipitation or temperature records, with mean monthly discharges increasing between 7% and 75% in the past decades. Model results demonstrate that forest cover loss is responsible for raising the 10-year return peak discharge by 25%, while the total conversion of forest to agricultural use would result in an additional 18% rise. These findings highlight the need for an integrated basin-wide approach to land management that considers the impacts of agricultural expansion on increased flood prevalence, and the economic and social costs involved.
  • Tripathi, Shankar; Subedi, Rajan; Adhikari, Hari (2020)
    An account of widespread degradation and deforestation in Nepal has been noticed in various literature sources. Although the contribution of community forests (CF) on the improvement of forest cover and condition in the Mid-hill of Nepal is positive, detailed study to understand the current situation seems important. The study area (Tanahun District) lies in the Gandaki Province of western Nepal. The objective of this study was to estimate the forest cover change over the specified period and to identify factors influencing the change. We used Landsat images from the years 1976, 1991, and 2015 to classify land use and land cover. We considered community perception in addition to the forest cover map to understand the different causes of forest cover change. Forest cover decreased from 1976 to 1991 annually at a rate of 0.96%. After 1991, the forest increased annually at a rate of 0.63%. The overall forest cover in the district regained its original status. Factors related to increasing forest cover were emigration, occupation shift, agroforestry practices, as well as particularly by plantation on barren lands, awareness among forest users, and conservation activities conducted by local inhabitants after the government forest was handed over to community members as a community forest management system.
  • Kauppi, Pekka E.; Sandström, Vilma; Lipponen, Antti (2018)
    A universal turnaround has been detected in many countries of the World from shrinking to expanding forests. The forest area of western Europe expanded already in the 19th century. Such early trends of forest resources cannot be associated with the rapid rise of atmospheric carbon dioxide nor with the anthropogenic climate change, which have taken place since the mid 20th century. Modern, most recent spatial patterns of forest expansions and contractions do not correlate with the geography of climate trends nor with dry versus moist areas. Instead, the forest resources trends of nations correlate positively with UNDP Human Development Index. This indicates that forest resources of nations have improved along with progress in human well-being. Highly developed countries apply modern agricultural methods on good farmlands and abandon marginal lands, which become available for forest expansion. Developed countries invest in sustainable programs of forest management and nature protection. Our findings are significant for predicting the future of the terrestrial carbon sink. They suggest that the large sink of carbon recently observed in forests of the World will persist, if the well-being of people continues to improve. However, despite the positive trends in domestic forests, developed nations increasingly outsource their biomass needs abroad through international trade, and all nations rely on unsustainable energy use and wasteful patterns of material consumption.
  • Larjavaara, Markku; Kanninen, Markku; Ruesta, Harold Gordillo; Koskinen, Joni; Kukkonen, Markus; Käyhkö, Niina; Larson, Anne M.; Wunder, Sven (2018)
    Slowing the reduction, or increasing the accumulation, of organic carbon stored in biomass and soils has been suggested as a potentially rapid and cost-effective method to reduce the rate of atmospheric carbon increase(1). The costs of mitigating climate change by increasing ecosystem carbon relative to the baseline or business-as-usual scenario has been quantified in numerous studies, but results have been contradictory, as both methodological issues and substance differences cause variability(2). Here we show, based on 77 standardized face-to-face interviews of local experts with the best possible knowledge of local land-use economics and sociopolitical context in ten landscapes around the globe, that the estimated cost of increasing ecosystem carbon varied vastly and was perceived to be 16-27 times cheaper in two Indonesian landscapes dominated by peatlands compared with the average of the eight other landscapes. Hence, if reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) and other land-use mitigation efforts are to be distributed evenly across forested countries, for example, for the sake of international equity, their overall effectiveness would be dramatically lower than for a cost-minimizing distribution.
  • Ramiadantsoa, Tanjona; Ovaskainen, Otso; Rybicki, Joel; Hanski, Ilkka (2015)
    In biodiversity conservation, habitat corridors are assumed to increase landscape-level connectivity and to enhance the viability of otherwise isolated populations. While the role of corridors is supported by empirical evidence, studies have typically been conducted at small spatial scales. Here, we assess the quality and the functionality of a large 95-km long forest corridor connecting two large national parks (416 and 311 km(2)) in the southeastern escarpment of Madagascar. We analyze the occurrence of 300 species in 5 taxonomic groups in the parks and in the corridor, and combine high-resolution forest cover data with a simulation model to examine various scenarios of corridor destruction. At present, the corridor contains essentially the same communities as the national parks, reflecting its breadth which on average matches that of the parks. In the simulation model, we consider three types of dispersers: passive dispersers, which settle randomly around the source population; active dispersers, which settle only in favorable habitat; and gap-avoiding active dispersers, which avoid dispersing across non-habitat. Our results suggest that long-distance passive dispersers are most sensitive to ongoing degradation of the corridor, because increasing numbers of propagules are lost outside the forest habitat. For a wide range of dispersal parameters, the national parks are large enough to sustain stable populations until the corridor becomes severely broken, which will happen around 2065 if the current rate of forest loss continues. A significant decrease in gene flow along the corridor is expected after 2040, and this will exacerbate the adverse consequences of isolation. Our results demonstrate that simulation studies assessing the role of habitat corridors should pay close attention to the mode of dispersal and the effects of regional stochasticity.
  • Koskikala, Joni; Kukkonen, Markus; Käyhkö, Niina (2020)
    Global terrestrial biodiversity hotspots (GBH) represent areas featuring exceptional concentrations of endemism and habitat loss in the world. Unfortunately, geospatial data of natural habitats of the GBHs are often outdated, imprecise, and coarse, and need updating for improved management and protection actions. Recent developments in satellite image availability, combined with enhanced machine learning algorithms and computing capacity, enable cost-efficient updating of geospatial information of these already severely fragmented habitats. This study aimed to develop a more accurate method for mapping closed canopy evergreen natural forest (CCEF) of the Eastern Arc Mountains (EAM) ecoregion in Tanzania and Kenya, and to update the knowledge on its spatial extent, level of fragmentation, and conservation status. We tested 1023 model possibilities stemming from a combination of Sentinel-1 (S1) and Sentinel-2 (S2) satellite imagery, spatial texture of S1 and S2, seasonality derived from Landsat-8 time series, and topographic information, using random forest modelling approach. We compared the best CCEF model with existing spatial forest products from the EAM through independent accuracy assessment. Finally, the CCEF model was used to estimate the fragmentation and conservation coverage of the EAM. The CCEF model has moderate accuracy measured in True Skill Statistic (0.57), and it clearly outperforms other similar products from the region. Based on this model, there are about 296,000 ha of Eastern Arc Forests (EAF) left. Furthermore, acknowledging small forest fragments (1-10 ha) implies that the EAFs are more fragmented than previously considered. Currently, the official protection of EAFs is disproportionally targeting well-studied mountain blocks, while less known areas and small fragments are underrepresented in the protected area network. Thus, the generated CCEF model should be used to design updates and more informed and detailed conservation allocation plans to balance this situation. The results highlight that spatial texture of S2, seasonality, and topography are the most important variables describing the EAFs, while spatial texture of S1 increases the model performance slightly. All in all, our work demonstrates that recent developments in Earth observation allows significant enhancements in mapping, which should be utilized in areas with outstanding biodiversity values for better forest and conservation planning.
  • Arvola, Anne; Malkamäki, Arttu; Penttilä, Juho; Toppinen, Anne (2019)
    In the rapidly growing Tanzanian economy, increasing demand for timber and limited wood supply from industrial plantations and natural forests have opened a new livelihood opportunity for smallholder farmers in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania, which is undergoing a tree-growing boom. In the absence of support services, research and statistics, the magnitude of the phenomena has remained unclear, along with the farmers’ capability to meet market demands, access the markets, and negotiate prices. Primary qualitative data were collected to clarify the role of smallholder tree growers in the forest transition process and wood value chain using 60 semi-structured tree farmer interviews in four villages, and through interviews of timber buyers and processors. The findings indicate that the strong market demand has created dual markets, where higher quality industrial plantations mainly supply larger industries, whereas micro and small enterprises source wood from lower quality smallholder plantations. While the markets’ quality criteria are expected to tighten, capacity building is needed to improve smallholder wood quality to ensure the long-run tree-growing livelihood and competitiveness of small-scale producers in the markets.
  • Di Gregorio, Monica; Fatorelli, Leandra; Paavola, Jouni; Locatelli, Bruno; Pramova, Emilia; Nurrochmat, Dodik Ridho; May, Peter H.; Brockhaus, Maria; Sari, Intan Maya; Kusumadewi, Sonya Dyah (2019)
    This article proposes an innovative theoretical framework that combines institutional and policy network approaches to study multi-level governance. The framework is used to derive a number of propositions on how cross-level power imbalances shape communication and collaboration across multiple levels of governance. The framework is then applied to examine the nature of cross-level interactions in climate change mitigation and adaptation policy processes in the land use sectors of Brazil and Indonesia. The paper identifies major barriers to cross-level communication and collaboration between national and sub-national levels. These are due to power imbalances across governance levels that reflect broader institutional differences between federal and decentralized systems of government. In addition, powerful communities operating predominantly at the national level hamper cross-level interactions. The analysis also reveals that engagement of national level actors is more extensive in the mitigation and that of local actors in the adaptation policy domain, and specialisation in one of the climate change responses at the national level hampers effective climate policy integration in the land use sector.
  • Wong, Grace Yee; Luttrell, Cecilia; Loft, Lasse; Yang, Anastasia; Thuy Thu Pham,; Naito, Daisuke; Assembe-Mvondo, Samuel; Brockhaus, Maria (2019)
    REDD+ was designed globally as a results-based instrument to incentivize emissions reduction from deforestation and forest degradation. Over 50 countries have developed strategies for REDD+, implemented pilot activities and/or set up forest monitoring and reporting structures, safeguard systems and benefit sharing mechanisms (BSMs), offering lessons on how particular ideas guide policy design. The implementation of REDD+ at national, sub-national and local levels required payments to filter through multiple governance structures and priorities. REDD+ was variously interpreted by different actors in different contexts to create legitimacy for certain policy agendas. Using an adapted 3E (effectiveness, efficiency, equity and legitimacy) lens, we examine four common narratives underlying REDD+ BSMs: (1) that results-based payment (RBP) is an effective and transparent approach to reducing deforestation and forest degradation; (2) that emphasis on co-benefits risks diluting carbon outcomes; (3) that directing REDD+ benefits predominantly to poor smallholders, forest communities and marginalized groups helps address equity; and (4) that social equity and gender concerns can be addressed by well-designed safeguards. This paper presents a structured examination of eleven BSMs from within and beyond the forest sector and analyses the evidence to variably support and challenge these narratives and their underlying assumptions to provide lessons for REDD+ BSM design. Our findings suggest that contextualizing the design of BSMs, and a reflexive approach to examining the underlying narratives justifying particular design features, is critical for achieving effectiveness, equity and legitimacy. Key policy insights A results-based payment approach does not guarantee an effective REDD+; the contexts in which results are defined and agreed, along with conditions enabling social and political acceptance, are critical. A flexible and reflexive approach to designing a benefit-sharing mechanism that delivers emissions reductions at the same time as co-benefits can increase perceptions of equity and participation. Targeting REDD+ to smallholder communities is not by default equitable, if wider rights and responsibilities are not taken into account Safeguards cannot protect communities or society without addressing underlying power and gendered relations. The narratives and their underlying generic assumptions, if not critically examined, can lead to repeated failure of REDD+ policies and practices.
  • Schroeder, Heike; Di Gregorio, Monica; Brockhaus, Maria; Thu Thuy Pham, (2020)
  • Nepal, Prakash; Korhonen, Jaana; Prestemon, Jeffrey; Cubbage, F. (2019)
    Forest resources are critical to environmental, economic, and social development, and there is substantial interest in understanding how global forest area will evolve in the future. Using an Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) model of total forest area that we updated using more recent data sets, we projected forest area through 2100 in 168 countries using variables including income, rural population density, and the size of the labor force under different world visions drawn from alternative Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change socioeconomic pathways (SSPs). Results provided support for the existence of an EKC for total forest area, with rural population density negatively affecting forest area and labor force size positively affecting forest area. The projections showed modest and continuous increases in global forest area in all the SSPs, but varying trends for major world regions, which is consistent with the projected trends from the explanatory variables in each country. Aggregate global forest area is projected to increase by 7% as of 2100 relative to 2015 levels in SSP3, which predicts a future with the lowest rate of economic growth, and by 36% in SSP5, which is a future with the highest rate of economic growth and greater economic equality across countries. The results show how projections driven only by income produce biased results compared to the projections made with an EKC that includes rural population density and labor force variables.
  • Lopez-Baucells, Adria; Rocha, Ricardo; Andriatafika, Zo; Tojosoa, Tafita; Kemp, James; Forbes, Kristian M.; Cabeza, Mar (2017)
    Humanised landscapes are causing population declines and even extinctions of wildlife, whereas a limited number of species are adapting to the new niches and resources within these modified habitats. Synanthropy is widespread among many vertebrates and often causes co-habitation conflicts between humans and wildlife species. Bats often roost in anthropogenic structures, and especially in the tropics, mitigation of human-bat conflicts arising from co-habitation is hampered by a paucity of research focusing on roost preferences. We assessed roost selection by bats in villages around Ranomafana National Park, eastern Madagascar. Ten villages were surveyed, with bats occupying 21 of the 180 evaluated buildings. Of those, 17 were public buildings harbouring large molossid colonies. Although beneficial ecosystem services provided by bats are well-known, several cases of colony eviction were noted, mostly due to unwanted co-habitation. Bat preference was driven by the type of building, its height and a lack of fire use by the inhabitants. Colonies were mainly found under metal sheets within large empty chambers, whereas only isolated bats were detected in the roofs of traditional cabins. Temperatures up to 50 degrees C were recorded inside a roost, representing one of the highest temperatures recorded for an African maternity roost. Molossidae bats appear to have found a suitable alternative to their native roosts in hollow, old and tall trees in pristine forests, which are becoming rare in Madagascar. This suggests that human-bat interactions in Madagascar will likely increase alongside rural development and the loss of primary forest habitats. Shifting to modern construction methods while combining traditional techniques with proper roof sealing could prevent the establishment of bat colonies in undesired locations, whereas co-habitation conflicts could alternatively be minimised by reducing direct interaction with humans. In light of our results, we urge caution with bat evictions, and greater attention when introducing modern building practices, often supported by foreign initiatives, to poor rural communities in developing countries.
  • Terraube, Julien; Fernandez-Llamazares, Alvaro (2020)
    The current COVID-19 pandemics is having a major impact on our global health and economies. There is widespread recognition that ecosystem disruption, including land-use change and illegal wildlife trade, is linked to the increasing emergence of zoonotic diseases. Here, we emphasize that protected areas play a fundamental role in buffering against novel disease outbreaks by maintaining ecosystem integrity. However, protected areas worldwide are facing increasing human pressures, which are being amplified by the unfolding COVID-19 crisis. Increased resources are thus urgently needed to mainstream a One Health approach to protected area management, focusing specifically on i) monitoring illegal wildlife trade, ii) biodiversity trends and iii) surveillance of zoonotic pathogens. Improving integration of public health into global biodiversity conservation policies should be a top priority to reduce the risk of future pandemics.
  • Castro-Morales, Karel; Schuermann, Gregor; Koestler, Christoph; Roedenbeck, Christian; Heimann, Martin; Zaehle, Soenke (2019)
    During the last decade, carbon cycle data assimilation systems (CCDAS) have focused on improving the simulation of seasonal and mean global carbon fluxes over a few years by simultaneous assimilation of multiple data streams. However, the ability of a CCDAS to predict longer-term trends and variability of the global carbon cycle and the constraint provided by the observations have not yet been assessed. Here, we evaluate two near-decade-long assimilation experiments of the Max Planck Institute-Carbon Cycle Data Assimilation System (MPI-CCDAS v1) using spaceborne estimates of the fraction of absorbed photosynthetic active radiation (FAPAR) and atmospheric CO2 concentrations from the global network of flask measurement sites from either 1982 to 1990 or 1990 to 2000. We contrast these simulations with independent observations from the period 1982-2010, as well as a third MPI-CCDAS assimilation run using data from the full 1982-2010 period, and an atmospheric inversion covering the same data and time. With 30 years of data, MPI-CCDAS is capable of representing land uptake to a sufficient degree to make it compatible with the atmospheric CO2 record. The long-term trend and seasonal amplitude of atmospheric CO2 concentrations at station level over the period 1982 to 2010 is considerably improved after assimilating only the first decade (1982-1990) of observations. After 15-19 years of prognostic simulation, the simulated CO2 mixing ratio in 2007-2010 diverges by only 2 +/- 1.3 ppm from the observations, the atmospheric inversion, and the MPI-CCDAS assimilation run using observations from the full period. The long-term trend, phenological seasonality, and interannual variability (IAV) of FAPAR in the Northern Hemisphere over the last 1 to 2 decades after the assimilation were also improved. Despite imperfections in the representation of the IAV in atmospheric CO2, model-data fusion for a decade of data can already contribute to the prognostic capacity of land carbon cycle models at relevant timescales.
  • Langner, Andreas; Miettinen, Jukka; Kukkonen, Markus; Vancutsem, Christelle; Simonetti, Dario; Vieilledent, Ghislain; Verhegghen, Astrid; Gallego, Javier; Stibig, Hans-Juergen (2018)
    This study presents an approach to forest canopy disturbance monitoring in evergreen forests in continental Southeast Asia, based on temporal differences of a modified normalized burn ratio (NBR) vegetation index. We generate NBR values from each available Landsat 8 scene of a given period. A step of ' self-referencing' normalizes the NBR values, largely eliminating illumination/topography effects, thus maximizing inter-comparability. We then create yearly composites of these self-referenced NBR (rNBR) values, selecting per pixel the maximum rNBR value over each observation period, which reflects the most open canopy cover condition of that pixel. The ArNBR is generated as the difference between the composites of two reference periods. The methodology produces seamless and consistent maps, highlighting patterns of canopy disturbances (e. g., encroachment, selective logging), and keeping artifacts at minimum level. The monitoring approach was validated within four test sites with an overall accuracy of almost 78% using very high resolution satellite reference imagery. The methodology was implemented in a Google Earth Engine (GEE) script requiring no user interaction. A threshold is applied to the final output dataset in order to separate signal from noise. The approach, capable of detecting sub-pixel disturbance events as small as 0.005 ha, is transparent and reproducible, and can help to increase the credibility of monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV), as required in the context of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+).
  • Camargo, Marisa; Nhantumbo, Isilda (International institute for environment and development, 2016)
  • Torppa, Kaisa Anneli; Wirta, Helena; Hanski, Ilkka (2020)
    Tropical forests, which harbor high levels of biodiversity, are being lost at an alarming speed. Madagascar, a biodiversity hotspot, has lost more than half of its original forest cover. Most of the remaining forests are small fragments of primary and secondary forest with differing degrees of human impact. These forests, as well as coffee and fruit plantations, may be important in supporting the forest-dependent biodiversity in Madagascar but this has been little studied. In Madagascar, dung beetles, which offer important ecosystem services, are largely restricted to forests. We examined the ability of fragmented and degraded forests to support dung beetle diversity, compared to the large areas of primary forest in eastern Madagascar. We found a general trend of a reduction of species with a loss of forest connectivity. In contrast, a higher level of forest disturbance was associated with higher species diversity. In several sites of low-quality forest as many or more species were found as in less disturbed and primary forests. The average size of dung beetles was smaller in the lower quality localities than in the primary forests. These findings suggest that many forest dung beetles in Madagascar are better adapted to forest disturbance than earlier expected, although they require some level of connectivity to surrounding forest. in Malagasy is available with online material.