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Effects of Forest Fragmentation on a Dung Beetle Community in French Guiana

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Abstract:  Fragmentation is the most common disturbance induced by humans in tropical forests. Some insect groups are particularly suitable for studying the effects of fragmentation on animal communities because they are taxonomically and ecologically homogenous. We investigated the effects of forest fragmentation on a dung beetle species community in the forest archipelago created in 1994–1995 by the dam of Petit Saut, French Guiana. We set and baited an equal number of pitfall traps for dung beetles on three mainland sites and seven island sites. The sites ranged from 1.1 to 38 ha. In 250 trap days, we captured 50 species in 19 genera. Diversity indices were high (2.18–4.06). The lowest diversity was on the small islands and one mainland site. Species richness and abundance were positively related to fragment area but not to distance from mainland or distance to the larger island. The islands had lower species richness and population than mainland forest, but rarefied species richness was relatively invariant across sites. There was a marked change in species composition with decreasing fragment that was not caused by the presence of a common fauna of disturbed‐area species on islands. Small islands differed from larger islands, which did not differ significantly from mainland sites. Partial correlation analyses suggested that species richness and abundance of dung beetle species were positively related to the number of species of nonflying mammals and the density index of howler monkeys (Alouatta seniculus), two parameters positively related to fragment area.
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Language: English

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Laboratoire d'Ecologie, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, CNRS UMR 5176, 4 avenue du Petit Château, F-91800 Brunoy, France, 2: Emirats Center for Wildlife Propagation, BP 47, Missour, Province de Boulemane, Morocco

Publication date: August 1, 2005

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