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Use of provisioning ecosystem services drives loss of functional traits across land use intensification gradients in tropical forests in Madagascar

Use of provisioning ecosystem services drives loss of functional traits across land use intensification gradients in tropical forests in Madagascar
Use of provisioning ecosystem services drives loss of functional traits across land use intensification gradients in tropical forests in Madagascar
Ecosystems services are threatened by the rapid degradation of tropical rainforests. In light of these threats, questions remain about how societies on the forest fringe who depend on provisioning services affect plant functional traits. This study assessed the relationship between plant functional traits, forest-dependent societies and provisioning ecosystem services along a forest–agriculture matrix gradient in tropical humid forests of Madagascar. Data were collected for six functional traits and six provisioning services. We evaluated functional diversity (FD) and utilitarian diversity (FD of provisioning services) along disturbance gradients. We also determined the traits most susceptible to loss along the gradient as well as the relationship between functional traits and provisioning services. The results showed that FD, utilitarian diversity and species richness decreased significantly across all modified habitats. There was a distinct suite of traits absent from intensely used habitats and those same traits were associated with the two most important provisioning services in the region (firewood and construction). The activities of people living on the forest fringe seem to be a strong selective force on trait loss in plant communities, which in turn will influence future species assembly and trait diversity and distribution. Moreover, this study suggests that it is possible to predict trait loss from plant communities in forests where degradation is mediated primarily through subsistence agriculture and resource extraction. Conservation efforts should recognize that forest degradation and deforestation are contextually specific, determined mostly by people’s efforts to maintain their basic livelihood, and therefore necessitate local-scale interventions that feed into landscape-scale policy initiatives.
biodiversity, functional diversity, functional traits, ecosystem services, land use intensification, madagascar, subsistence agriculture
0006-3207
118-127
Brown, Kerry A.
a978f85f-9d55-4e5e-98f4-b08bd9352f8d
Johnson, Steig E.
8088822f-30c7-4339-87ba-67f006079c34
Parks, Katherine E.
ea8fc33d-e41f-4df1-9c16-01c1711de5a6
Holmes, Sheila M.
386a436e-dd1a-4a51-9ede-829605a9acd4
Ivoandry, Tonisoa
4d4f57b5-2b08-40a3-983d-146ba501c816
Abram, Nicola K.
cc0012c9-8410-496f-bff7-c550287f73ea
Delmore, Kira E.
8803fb15-1fb5-4740-8606-a4ce8e2571c6
Ludovic, Reza
41681d27-65c2-4374-a565-b9c9686e6480
Andriamaharoa, Hubert E.
dd516bd0-8266-4c8b-a9c0-3a9b2367376a
Wyman, Tracy M.
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Wright, Patricia C.
2fa59b4f-7ece-4ab8-9b9a-91beac9441a7
Brown, Kerry A.
a978f85f-9d55-4e5e-98f4-b08bd9352f8d
Johnson, Steig E.
8088822f-30c7-4339-87ba-67f006079c34
Parks, Katherine E.
ea8fc33d-e41f-4df1-9c16-01c1711de5a6
Holmes, Sheila M.
386a436e-dd1a-4a51-9ede-829605a9acd4
Ivoandry, Tonisoa
4d4f57b5-2b08-40a3-983d-146ba501c816
Abram, Nicola K.
cc0012c9-8410-496f-bff7-c550287f73ea
Delmore, Kira E.
8803fb15-1fb5-4740-8606-a4ce8e2571c6
Ludovic, Reza
41681d27-65c2-4374-a565-b9c9686e6480
Andriamaharoa, Hubert E.
dd516bd0-8266-4c8b-a9c0-3a9b2367376a
Wyman, Tracy M.
83978fb8-18e0-44cb-ac03-f71e63b2d3dc
Wright, Patricia C.
2fa59b4f-7ece-4ab8-9b9a-91beac9441a7

Brown, Kerry A., Johnson, Steig E., Parks, Katherine E., Holmes, Sheila M., Ivoandry, Tonisoa, Abram, Nicola K., Delmore, Kira E., Ludovic, Reza, Andriamaharoa, Hubert E., Wyman, Tracy M. and Wright, Patricia C. (2013) Use of provisioning ecosystem services drives loss of functional traits across land use intensification gradients in tropical forests in Madagascar. Biological Conservation, 161, 118-127. (doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2013.03.014).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Ecosystems services are threatened by the rapid degradation of tropical rainforests. In light of these threats, questions remain about how societies on the forest fringe who depend on provisioning services affect plant functional traits. This study assessed the relationship between plant functional traits, forest-dependent societies and provisioning ecosystem services along a forest–agriculture matrix gradient in tropical humid forests of Madagascar. Data were collected for six functional traits and six provisioning services. We evaluated functional diversity (FD) and utilitarian diversity (FD of provisioning services) along disturbance gradients. We also determined the traits most susceptible to loss along the gradient as well as the relationship between functional traits and provisioning services. The results showed that FD, utilitarian diversity and species richness decreased significantly across all modified habitats. There was a distinct suite of traits absent from intensely used habitats and those same traits were associated with the two most important provisioning services in the region (firewood and construction). The activities of people living on the forest fringe seem to be a strong selective force on trait loss in plant communities, which in turn will influence future species assembly and trait diversity and distribution. Moreover, this study suggests that it is possible to predict trait loss from plant communities in forests where degradation is mediated primarily through subsistence agriculture and resource extraction. Conservation efforts should recognize that forest degradation and deforestation are contextually specific, determined mostly by people’s efforts to maintain their basic livelihood, and therefore necessitate local-scale interventions that feed into landscape-scale policy initiatives.

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More information

Published date: May 2013
Keywords: biodiversity, functional diversity, functional traits, ecosystem services, land use intensification, madagascar, subsistence agriculture
Organisations: Civil Maritime & Env. Eng & Sci Unit

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 352681
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/352681
ISSN: 0006-3207
PURE UUID: 3c9ec9c9-9a65-4e17-a71d-cbcea0772232

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 16 May 2013 14:04
Last modified: 16 Jul 2019 21:33

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Contributors

Author: Kerry A. Brown
Author: Steig E. Johnson
Author: Sheila M. Holmes
Author: Tonisoa Ivoandry
Author: Nicola K. Abram
Author: Kira E. Delmore
Author: Reza Ludovic
Author: Hubert E. Andriamaharoa
Author: Tracy M. Wyman
Author: Patricia C. Wright

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