The effect of remnant forest on insect successional response in tropical fire impacted peatland: A Bi-Taxa comparison

Fire has become a common feature in tropical drained peatlands, and it may have detrimental impacts on the overall biodiversity of the forest ecosystem. We investigated the effect of fire on termite and ant assemblages and the importance of remnant forest in restoring species diversity in fire-impacted tropical peat swamp forests. The species loss of both termites and ants was as high as 50% in some fire-impacted peats compared to remnant forests, but in most cases the species richness for termites and ants was statistically equal along the land uses surveyed. However, a pronounced difference in functional group composition of termites was detected. In particular, sites close to remnant forests contained two additional termite feeding groups so that they shared a similar composition structure with remnant forests but were significantly different from sites distant from remnant forests. In general, ants were resilient to fire, and the similarity index showed a high degree of similarity among ant communities in all land uses surveyed. The Shannon diversity index for termites and ants decreased with increasing distance from the remnant forests and level of ecological degradation. Peat vegetation variables and ecological degradation were important in shaping termite and ant communities in the tropical peatlands, but their relative importance was not significant in fire-impacted peats regardless of distance from the remnant forests. This study highlights the importance of remnant forests as a biodiversity repository and natural buffer that can enhance species diversity and recolonization of forest-adapted species. © 2017 Neoh et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
  • Authors: Neoh, K.-B., Bong, L.-J., Muhammad, A., Itoh, M., Kozan, O., Takematsu, Y., Yoshimura, T.
  • Author Affiliation: National Chung Hsing University, Riau University, Kyoto University, Yamaguchi University, National Health Research Institutes
  • Subjects: fire, forest fires, tropical forests, peatlands, tropics, isoptera, ecosystem management
  • Publication type: Journal Article
  • Source: PLoS ONE 12(3): e0174388
  • Year: 2017
  • DOI:
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