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      Acacia woodlots, cattle and dung beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeinae) in a Mexican silvopastoral landscape Translated title: Matorrales de Acacia, vacas y escarabajos del estiércol (Coleoptera: Scarabaeinae) en un paisaje silvopastoril mexicano

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          Abstract

          In landscapes where tropical dry forest was once the dominant vegetation type, traditional silvopastoral systems generate a range of natural and semi-natural habitats, namely fragments of secondary forest and fallow land in various stages of succession; essentially Acacia woodlots. This level of heterogeneity seems to favor the arrival and persistence of a large number of Scarabaeinae species. Changes in dung and carrion beetle assemblages were assessed in a silvopastoral landscape in Chiapas, Mexico by intensive sampling using baited pitfall traps. Total species richness decreased from late successional habitats to early successional habitats and average abundance per site was higher in the intermediate successional stages. The silvopastoral system studied is very dynamic; its components may remain constant or change over time, depending on management. These changing conditions lead to a variable local species richness and allow the permeability of certain species within the landscape. There was high species turnover among successional habitats, generating a gamma diversity similar to that of tropical dry forest landscapes and 2-fold higher than the highest recorded alpha diversity value. Silvopastoral systems can buffer the adverse effects of rapid expansion of open areas and the consequent reduction of tropical dry forest area generated by technified conventional systems.

          Translated abstract

          En paisajes donde el bosque tropical seco fue la vegetación dominante, los sistemas silvopastoriles tradicionales generan una gama de hábitats naturales y seminaturales (fragmentos de bosques secundarios y acahuales en diversas etapas de sucesión), principalmente matorrales con Acacia. Este nivel de heterogeneidad parece favorecer la llegada y la persistencia de un gran número de especies de Scarabaeinae. Estudiamos los cambios en los ensambles de escarabajos copro-necrófagos en un paisaje silvopastoril en Chiapas, México. El muestreo fue intensivo y se llevó a cabo con trampas de caída cebadas. De acuerdo con nuestros resultados, la riqueza total de especies fue decreciendo de los hábitats sucesionales más complejos a los más simples y la abundancia promedio por sitio fue mayor en las etapas sucesionales intermedias. El sistema silvopastoril estudiado es muy dinámico y sus componentes pueden permanecer o cambiar con el tiempo, dependiendo de las decisiones de los ganaderos. Estas condiciones cambiantes provocaron que la riqueza local de escarabajos fuera muy variable y permitieron que el paisaje fuera permeable a la entrada y salida de algunas especies. Hubo un alto recambio de especies entre estados sucesionales, lo que dio como resultado una diversidad gamma similar a la de paisajes con bosque tropical seco y con valores 2 veces mayores a la mayor diversidad alfa encontrada. Los sistemas silvopastoriles pueden regular los efectos adversos de la rápida expansión de los espacios abiertos y la consiguiente reducción de la superficie ocupada por el bosque tropical seco, resultante de los sistemas ganaderos convencionales tecnificados.

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          Most cited references 43

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          EstimateS: Statistical estimation of species richness and shared species from samples.Version6.01b: User's guide and application

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             P. Digby,  R. Kempton (1987)
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              Gamma diversity: derived from and a determinant of Alpha diversity and Beta diversity. An analysis of three tropical landscapes

              Using three taxonomic groups of beetles we examine how alpha and beta diversity influence the species richness of a landscape (gamma diversity), and vice versa. That is, how the species richness of a landscape - which is a historical and biogeographical phenomenon - contributes to the values of alpha diversity (1) at a given site, (2) in a community, (3) in terms of cumulative species richness by community, and also contributes to (4) the intensity of species exchange between communities. To explore this question, we used two subfamilies of Scarabaeoidea: Scarabaeinae and Geotrupinae, and the family Silphidae. In all analyses these three taxonomic groups are considered as a single indicator group: the copronecrophagous beetles. Information is also included on the subfamily Aphodiinae (Scarabaeoidea), coprophagous beetles not included in the indicator group. Several types of vegetation located in three landscapes (tropical, transition and mountain) were studied, and these are located along an altitudinal gradient in the central part of the state of Veracruz, Mexico. We base this study on the following concepts. The alpha diversity of an indicator group reflects the number of species that use a given environment or resource in a given place or community. Spacial beta diversity is related to the response of organisms to spatial heterogeneity. Gamma diversity depends primarily on the historical and geographic processes that operate on the mesoscale level and is also affected by alpha and beta diversity. It is on this scale of landscape that human actions, such as the modification and fragmentation of vegetation, have their most important effects. These are, however, often beyond the scope of ecological analyses carried out on a local scale. In the three landscapes, sampling was carried out regularly at 67 sites, with complementary sampling at another 69 sites. Twenty-six types of vegetation communities were studied. A total of 16,152 specimens representing 60 species were captured (52 species of Scarabaeinae, 4 Geotrupinae and 4 Silphidae). In the tropical landscape the community richest in species was low deciduous forest. In the transition landscape, cloud forest was the richest. Each of these communities is the most representative of their respective altitudinal bands. In contrast, the greatest species richness in the mountain landscape occurred in the mountain grasslands and pastures; types of community favoured by or even created by human intervention. This is explained by the expansion of heliophilous species from the Mexican High Plateau into these areas. In the tropical landscape the species richness of the pastures is similar to that of its forests, but with a partially different composition which is characterized by the dominance of heliophilous and coprophagous species; the latter, in addition to the more ubiquitous species that are shared with the tropical forest. In the transition landscape the cloud forest and the coffee plantations with polyspecific shade are important in the context of conserving the fauna. This type of community offers arboreal cover and occupies the majority of this landscape, allowing the groups of insects studied to move between remnant fragments of cloud forest. On the landscape scale but not locally, the fragmentation of natural communities does not appear to have reduced the number of species for the beetles of the indicator group. In each landscape disturbance by human activity appears to have been overcome for distinct reasons. In the tropical landscape we find the heliophilous beetle fauna characteristic of pastures, and this has increased by two species of recent invaders. In the transition landscape, the coffee plantations with polyspecific shade create a communication matrix, while in the mountain landscape the expansion of the mountain pastures has made conditions more favourable for heliophilous species. These results are not necessarily expected for other groups of organisms.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: ND
                Role: ND
                Role: ND
                Role: ND
                Journal
                rmbiodiv
                Revista mexicana de biodiversidad
                Rev. Mex. Biodiv.
                Instituto de Biología (México )
                2007-8706
                June 2013
                : 84
                : 2
                : 650-660
                Affiliations
                [1 ] Instituto de Ecología, A. C. Mexico
                [2 ] El Colegio de la Frontera Sur Mexico
                [3 ] Instituto Politécnico Nacional Mexico
                Article
                S1870-34532013000200021
                10.7550/rmb.32911
                Product
                Product Information: website
                Categories
                Biodiversity Conservation

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