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Tropical forest subjected to intensive post-logging silviculture maintains functionally diverse dung beetle communities.

Forest Ecology and Management

2019

Forest Ecology and Management

444

318-326

Commercially logged tropical forests hold high conservation value but are rapidly being converted to lucrative low-diversity plantations. Post-logging interventions that accelerate forest timber and carbon recovery—such as enrichment planting and cutting of woody vines—may reduce both the spatial extent of logging and economic pressures to convert forests, delivering considerable conservation benefits. However, they could also seriously undermine logged forest biodiversity, simplifying forest structure and removing important wildlife microhabitats. To date, no study has investigated the impact of post-logging interventions on invertebrates. Focusing on dung beetles, we explore the effects of intensive vine-cutting and enrichment planting within a largescale post-logging silvicultural project in northern Borneo. We find that for four measures of functional diversity (the facet of diversity that accounts for species traits and functions) and for species richness, treated forest communities are similar to those in unlogged and naturally regenerating forest. Moreover, although community composition in treated forest remains distinct from old-growth forest, it is no different than that in naturally regenerating forest and in fact more closely resembles old-growth than naturally regenerating forest in terms of effective diversity. Our results indicate that logged forests continue to host diverse and functioning dung beetle communities even after silvicultural intensification. Post-logging interventions could therefore play an important role in forest and biodiversity conservation via their incorporation into emerging agendas including REDD+ and the Bonn Challenge.

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