Rainforest conversion to rubber and oil palm reduces abundance, biomass and diversity of canopy spiders

2022 | journal article; research paper. A publication with affiliation to the University of Göttingen.

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​Rainforest conversion to rubber and oil palm reduces abundance, biomass and diversity of canopy spiders​
Ramos, D.; Hartke, T. R.; Buchori, D. ; Dupérré, N.; Hidayat, P.; Lia, M. & Harms, D. et al.​ (2022) 
PeerJ10 art. e13898​.​ DOI: https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.13898 

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Ramos, Daniel; Hartke, Tamara R.; Buchori, Damayanti ; Dupérré, Nadine; Hidayat, Purnama; Lia, Mayanda; Harms, Danilo; Scheu, Stefan ; Drescher, Jochen 
Rainforest canopies, home to one of the most complex and diverse terrestrial arthropod communities, are threatened by conversion of rainforest into agricultural production systems. However, little is known about how predatory arthropod communities respond to such conversion. To address this, we compared canopy spider (Araneae) communities from lowland rainforest with those from three agricultural systems in Jambi Province, Sumatra, Indonesia, i.e., jungle rubber (rubber agroforest) and monoculture plantations of rubber and oil palm. Using canopy fogging, we collected 10,676 spider specimens belonging to 36 families and 445 morphospecies. The four most abundant families (Salticidae N  = 2,043, Oonopidae N  = 1,878, Theridiidae N  = 1,533 and Clubionidae N  = 1,188) together comprised 62.2% of total individuals, while the four most speciose families, Salticidae (S = 87), Theridiidae (S = 83), Araneidae (S = 48) and Thomisidae (S = 39), contained 57.8% of all morphospecies identified. In lowland rainforest, average abundance, biomass and species richness of canopy spiders was at least twice as high as in rubber or oil palm plantations, with jungle rubber showing similar abundances as rainforest, and intermediate biomass and richness. Community composition of spiders was similar in rainforest and jungle rubber, but differed from rubber and oil palm, which also differed from each other. Canonical Correspondence Analysis showed that canopy openness, aboveground tree biomass and tree density together explained 18.2% of the variation in spider communities at family level. On a morphospecies level, vascular plant species richness and tree density significantly affected the community composition but explained only 6.8% of the variance. While abundance, biomass and diversity of spiders declined strongly with the conversion of rainforest into monoculture plantations of rubber and oil palm, we also found that a large proportion of the rainforest spider community can thrive in extensive agroforestry systems such as jungle rubber. Despite being very different from rainforest, the canopy spider communities in rubber and oil palm plantations may still play a vital role in the biological control of canopy herbivore species, thus contributing important ecosystem services. The components of tree and palm canopy structure identified as major determinants of canopy spider communities may aid in decision-making processes toward establishing cash-crop plantation management systems which foster herbivore control by spiders.
Issue Date
SFB 990: Ökologische und sozioökonomische Funktionen tropischer Tieflandregenwald-Transformationssysteme (Sumatra, Indonesien) 
SFB 990 | Z | Z02: Central Scientific Support Unit 



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