Diversity erosion beyond the species level: Dramatic loss of functional diversity after selective logging in two tropical amphibian communities

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2006
Authors:R. Ernst, K. Linsenmair, E., Rödel, M. - O.
Journal:Biological Conservation
Date Published:Nov 2006

Assessing the effects of logging on different aspects of biodiversity and general ecosystem properties is of prime importance if the few remaining areas of intact tropical forest are to be efficiently protected. Commonly used measures of biodiversity may only inadequately reflect actual disturbance after logging and studies restricted to only one specific eco-region do not allow for generalizations of results. We hence measured the impact of selective logging on different levels of diversity of two tropical anuran communities in two geographically distinct eco-regions. Species-diversity patterns were incoherent both, within and between studies. In West Africa, species richness did not differ between primary and exploited forest sites, whereas South American anuran communities exhibited higher species richness in primary sites. Yet, in both eco-regions, functional diversity (FD) was higher in primary forest communities. Absolute values of FD were higher in South American anuran communities, despite higher species richness in West African communities. FD was higher in older recovery, as compared to younger recovery states, even though species-diversity did not differ significantly. Three major conclusions can be drawn from our results. 1. Scale matters: it is important to monitor different levels of biodiversity in order to reveal its actual loss after anthropogenic disturbance. 2. Time matters: the disturbance history of a site is important in order to detect patterns that otherwise remain unnoticed. 3. Geographic history matters at the local scale: whereas general patterns at higher diversity levels were identical in both eco-regions, species richness, species diversity and turnover patterns differed. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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