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Replanting of first-cycle oil palm results in a second wave of biodiversity loss

Replanting of first-cycle oil palm results in a second wave of biodiversity loss
Replanting of first-cycle oil palm results in a second wave of biodiversity loss
Conversion of forest to oil palm plantations results in a significant loss of biodiversity. Despite this, first‐cycle oil palm plantations can sustain relatively high biodiversity compared to other crops. However, the long‐term effects of oil palm agriculture on flora and fauna are unknown. Oil palm has a 25‐year commercial lifespan before it must be replanted, due to reduced productivity and difficulty of harvesting. Loss of the complex vegetation structure of oil palm plantations during the replanting process will likely have impacts on the ecosystem at a local and landscape scale. However, the effect of replanting on biodiversity is poorly understood.

Here, we investigate the effects of replanting oil palm on soil macrofauna communities. We assessed ordinal richness, abundance, and community composition of soil macrofauna in first‐ (25‐ to 27‐year‐old) and second‐cycle oil palm (freshly cleared, 1‐year‐old, 3‐year‐old, and 7‐year‐old mature).

Macrofauna abundance and richness drastically declined immediately after replanting. Macrofauna richness showed some recovery 7 years after replanting, but was still 19% lower than first‐cycle oil palm. Macrofauna abundance recovered to similar levels to that of first‐cycle oil palm plantations, 1 year after replanting. This was mainly due to high ant abundance, possibly due to the increased understory vegetation as herbicides are not used at this age. However, there were subsequent declines in macrofauna abundance 3 and 7 years after replanting, resulting in a 59% drop in macrofauna abundance compared to first‐cycle levels. Furthermore, soil macrofauna community composition in all ages of second‐cycle oil palm was different to first‐cycle plantations, with decomposers suffering particular declines.

After considerable biodiversity loss due to forest conversion for oil palm, belowground invertebrate communities suffer a second wave of biodiversity loss due to replanting. This is likely to have serious implications for soil invertebrate diversity and agricultural sustainability in oil palm landscapes, due to the vital ecosystem functions that soil macrofauna provide.
2045-7758
6433-6443
Ashton-Butt, Adham
327a148f-4a26-45f2-9611-6b4378134e04
Willcock, Simon P.
89d9767e-8076-4b21-be9d-a964f5cc85d7
Purnomo, Dedi
5aba735b-0c09-4203-b498-6328a3ee8676
Suhardi,
660f983a-5399-4719-b157-da5d3cb5a957
Aryawan, Anak A.
1c9c983c-6abe-47a8-8264-8f54e9c57ac1
Wahyuningsih, Resti
fc30fd40-6d62-456f-ab2e-29473bebc9a2
Naim, Mohammad
521dea1e-e7e4-4fd5-b9d6-3b739e44dbbb
Poppy, Guy
e18524cf-10ae-4ab4-b50c-e73e7d841389
Caliman, Jean­-Pierre
6fbb20ad-77e7-4ec6-b162-dfaa78e1780c
Peh, Kelvin S.-H.
0bd60207-dad8-43fb-a84a-a15e09b024cc
Snaddon, Jake
31a601f7-c9b0-45e2-b59b-fda9a0c5a54b
Ashton-Butt, Adham
327a148f-4a26-45f2-9611-6b4378134e04
Willcock, Simon P.
89d9767e-8076-4b21-be9d-a964f5cc85d7
Purnomo, Dedi
5aba735b-0c09-4203-b498-6328a3ee8676
Suhardi,
660f983a-5399-4719-b157-da5d3cb5a957
Aryawan, Anak A.
1c9c983c-6abe-47a8-8264-8f54e9c57ac1
Wahyuningsih, Resti
fc30fd40-6d62-456f-ab2e-29473bebc9a2
Naim, Mohammad
521dea1e-e7e4-4fd5-b9d6-3b739e44dbbb
Poppy, Guy
e18524cf-10ae-4ab4-b50c-e73e7d841389
Caliman, Jean­-Pierre
6fbb20ad-77e7-4ec6-b162-dfaa78e1780c
Peh, Kelvin S.-H.
0bd60207-dad8-43fb-a84a-a15e09b024cc
Snaddon, Jake
31a601f7-c9b0-45e2-b59b-fda9a0c5a54b

Ashton-Butt, Adham, Willcock, Simon P., Purnomo, Dedi, Suhardi, , Aryawan, Anak A., Wahyuningsih, Resti, Naim, Mohammad, Poppy, Guy, Caliman, Jean­-Pierre, Peh, Kelvin S.-H. and Snaddon, Jake (2019) Replanting of first-cycle oil palm results in a second wave of biodiversity loss. Ecology and Evolution, 9 (11), 6433-6443. (doi:10.1002/ece3.5218).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Conversion of forest to oil palm plantations results in a significant loss of biodiversity. Despite this, first‐cycle oil palm plantations can sustain relatively high biodiversity compared to other crops. However, the long‐term effects of oil palm agriculture on flora and fauna are unknown. Oil palm has a 25‐year commercial lifespan before it must be replanted, due to reduced productivity and difficulty of harvesting. Loss of the complex vegetation structure of oil palm plantations during the replanting process will likely have impacts on the ecosystem at a local and landscape scale. However, the effect of replanting on biodiversity is poorly understood.

Here, we investigate the effects of replanting oil palm on soil macrofauna communities. We assessed ordinal richness, abundance, and community composition of soil macrofauna in first‐ (25‐ to 27‐year‐old) and second‐cycle oil palm (freshly cleared, 1‐year‐old, 3‐year‐old, and 7‐year‐old mature).

Macrofauna abundance and richness drastically declined immediately after replanting. Macrofauna richness showed some recovery 7 years after replanting, but was still 19% lower than first‐cycle oil palm. Macrofauna abundance recovered to similar levels to that of first‐cycle oil palm plantations, 1 year after replanting. This was mainly due to high ant abundance, possibly due to the increased understory vegetation as herbicides are not used at this age. However, there were subsequent declines in macrofauna abundance 3 and 7 years after replanting, resulting in a 59% drop in macrofauna abundance compared to first‐cycle levels. Furthermore, soil macrofauna community composition in all ages of second‐cycle oil palm was different to first‐cycle plantations, with decomposers suffering particular declines.

After considerable biodiversity loss due to forest conversion for oil palm, belowground invertebrate communities suffer a second wave of biodiversity loss due to replanting. This is likely to have serious implications for soil invertebrate diversity and agricultural sustainability in oil palm landscapes, due to the vital ecosystem functions that soil macrofauna provide.

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Ashton-Butt et al 2019 Ecology and Evolution - Version of Record
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 7 April 2019
e-pub ahead of print date: 7 May 2019
Published date: June 2019

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 430949
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/430949
ISSN: 2045-7758
PURE UUID: 60fccbf4-4aa8-489c-997b-774b161464b7
ORCID for Kelvin S.-H. Peh: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-2921-1341
ORCID for Jake Snaddon: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-3549-5472

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 17 May 2019 16:30
Last modified: 31 Jul 2019 00:34

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