Conversion of rainforest to oil palm and rubber plantations alters energy channels in soil food webs

2019 | journal article; research paper. A publication with affiliation to the University of Göttingen.

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​Conversion of rainforest to oil palm and rubber plantations alters energy channels in soil food webs​
Susanti, W. I.; Pollierer, M. M.; Widyastuti, R.; Scheu, S.   & Potapov, A. ​ (2019) 
Ecology and Evolution9(16) pp. 9027​-9039​.​ DOI: 

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Susanti, Winda Ika; Pollierer, Melanie M.; Widyastuti, Rahayu; Scheu, Stefan ; Potapov, Anton 
In the last decades, lowland tropical rainforest has been converted in large into plantation systems. Despite the evident changes above ground, the effect of rainforest conversion on the channeling of energy in soil food webs was not studied. Here, we investigated community-level neutral lipid fatty acid profiles in dominant soil fauna to track energy channels in rainforest, rubber, and oil palm plantations in Sumatra, Indonesia. Abundant macrofauna including Araneae, Chilopoda, and Diplopoda contained high amounts of plant and fungal biomarker fatty acids (FAs). Lumbricina had the lowest amount of plant, but the highest amount of animal-synthesized C20 polyunsaturated FAs as compared to other soil taxa. Mesofauna detritivores (Collembola and Oribatida) contained high amounts of algal biomarker FAs. The differences in FA profiles between taxa were evident if data were analyzed across land-use systems, suggesting that soil fauna of different size (macro- and mesofauna) are associated with different energy channels. Despite that, rainforest conversion changed the biomarker FA composition of soil fauna at the community level. Conversion of rainforest into oil palm plantations enhanced the plant energy channel in soil food webs and reduced the bacterial energy channel; conversion into rubber plantations reduced the AMF-based energy channel. The changes in energy distribution within soil food webs may have significant implications for the functioning of tropical ecosystems and their response to environmental changes. At present, these responses are hard to predict considering the poor knowledge on structure and functioning of tropical soil food webs.
Issue Date
Ecology and Evolution 
SFB 990: Ökologische und sozioökonomische Funktionen tropischer Tieflandregenwald-Transformationssysteme (Sumatra, Indonesien) 
SFB 990 | B | B08: Struktur und Funktion des Zersetzersystems in Transformationssystemen von Tiefland-Regenwäldern 
Zentrum für Biodiversität und Nachhaltige Landnutzung 
Journal Article; ABS; sfb990_journalarticles; sfb990_abs



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