Hawes, Joseph and da Silva Motta, Catarina and Overal, William L. and Barlow, Jos and Gardner, Toby A. and Peres, Carlos A. (2009) Diversity and composition of Amazonian moths in primary, secondary and plantation forests. Journal of Tropical Ecology, 25 (3). pp. 281-300. ISSN 0266-4674
The response of tropical fauna to landscape-level habitat change is poorly understood. Increased conversion of native primary forest to alternative land-uses, including secondary forest and exotic tree plantations, highlights the importance of assessing diversity patterns within these forest types. We sampled 1848 moths from 335 species of Arctiidae, Saturniidae and Sphingidae, over a total of 30 trap-nights. Sampling was conducted during the wet season 2005, using three light-traps at 15 sites within areas of primary forest, secondary forest and Eucalyptus urograndis plantations in northern Brazilian Amazonia. The Jari study region provides one of the best opportunities to investigate the ecological consequences of land-use change, and this study is one of the first to examine patterns of diversity for a neotropical moth assemblage in a human-dominated landscape in lowland Amazonia. We found that the three moth families responded consistently to disturbance in terms of abundance and community structure but variably in terms of species richness, in a manner apparently supporting a life-history hypothesis. Our results suggest that secondary forests and Eucalyptus plantations can support a substantial level of moth diversity but also show that these forest types hold assemblages with significantly distinct community structures and composition from primary forest. In addition, the ability of these converted land-uses to support primary forest species may be enhanced by proximity to surrounding primary forest, an issue which requires consideration when assessing the diversity and composition of mobile taxa in human-dominated landscapes.
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