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Complexity of cacao production systems affects terrestrial ant assemblages

Durot, Chloé; Limachi, Miguel; Naoki, Kazuya; Cotter, Marc; Bodenhausen, Natacha; Marconi, Luis and Armengot, Laura (2023) Complexity of cacao production systems affects terrestrial ant assemblages. Basic and Applied Ecology, 73, pp. 80-87.

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Document available online at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1439179123000634


Given the rapid changes in tropical agricultural production, the evaluation of different management practices has gained interest to determine the effects of land-use change on biodiversity. The conversion of forests into agricultural land is one of the main drivers of diversity loss. Agroforestry systems have been shown as a promising option to provide suitable yields in addition to conserving biodiversity. In this study we compared species richness and community composition of terrestrial ants in six different systems in a long-term experimental site established in 2009 in Bolivia: a full-sun monoculture and an agroforestry system under conventional management, a full-sun monoculture and an agroforestry system under organic management, a highly diverse and dense agroforestry system without external inputs and a secondary forest. Using pitfall traps, we sampled ants four times during a seven-year period (2015-2021). We collected a total of 85 ant species belonging to 6 sub-families and 41 genera. More than 80% of the species were recorded in less than 10% of the traps. Species richness did not significantly differ between the systems. However, species composition mainly differed between the fallow and the production systems, and within the latter, it followed the management intensity gradient, i.e., complex agroforestry, agroforestry and monocultures. The indicator species analysis clearly showed species exclusively associated with one or more production systems, whereas others were only associated with the secondary forest. Species with specialised trophic roles were more frequent in forest and agroforestry systems. Our results showed that the disturbance generated by cultivation was the main driver differentiating ant communities, but also reinforced the importance of the complexity and management intensity of the production system. These results have strong implications for landscape management and highlights the importance of preserving natural patches of forest but also diverse and complex agroforestry systems within the agricultural matrix for ant diversity conservation.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Ants, Agroforestry systems, Bolivia, Community composition, Full-sun monocultures, Indicator species, Organic farming, Secondary forests, Species richness, Tropics, Abacus, FiBL65166
Agrovoc keywords:
agroforestry systems
Bolivia (Plurinational State of)
indicator species -> indicator organisms
organic farming -> organic agriculture
secondary forests
species richness
tropics -> tropical zones
Subjects: Environmental aspects > Biodiversity and ecosystem services
"Organics" in general > Countries and regions > Bolivia
Research affiliation:Bolivia
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Crops > Special crops > Cocoa
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > International > Agroforestry Systems
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > International > Agriculture in the Tropics and Subtropics > Systems comparison
Spain > Other organizations Spain
Related Links:https://systems-comparison.fibl.org/
Deposited By: Unternährer, Anouk
ID Code:52251
Deposited On:03 Jan 2024 14:09
Last Modified:03 Jan 2024 14:09
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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