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Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 510778
Title Tropical forest loss and its multitrophic effects on insect herbivory
Author(s) Morante-Filho, José Carlos; Arroyo-Rodríguez, Víctor; Lohbeck, Madelon; Tscharntke, Teja; Faria, Deborah
Source Ecology 97 (2016)12. - ISSN 0012-9658 - p. 3315 - 3325.
Department(s) Forest Ecology and Forest Management
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2016
Keyword(s) Atlantic rainforest - Bottom-up control - Defaunation - Deforestation - Forest fragmentation - Leaf damage - Top-down control

Forest loss threatens biodiversity, but its potential effects on multitrophic ecological interactions are poorly understood. Insect herbivory depends on complex bottom-up (e.g., resource availability and plant antiherbivore defenses) and top-down forces (e.g., abundance of predators and herbivorous), but its determinants in human-altered tropical landscapes are largely unknown. Using structural equation models, we assessed the direct and indirect effects of forest loss on insect herbivory in 40 landscapes (115 ha each) from two regions with contrasting land-use change trajectories in the Brazilian Atlantic rainforest. We considered landscape forest cover as an exogenous predictor and (1) forest structure, (2) abundance of predators (birds and arthropods), and (3) abundance of herbivorous arthropods as endogenous predictors of insect leaf damage. From 12 predicted pathways, 11 were significant and showed that (1) leaf damage increases with forest loss (direct effect); (2) leaf damage increases with forest loss through the simplification of vegetation structure and its associated dominance of herbivorous insects (indirect effect); and further demonstrate (3) a lack of top-down control of herbivores by predators (birds and arthropods). We conclude that forest loss favors insect herbivory by undermining the bottom-up control (presumably reduced plant antiherbivore defense mechanisms) in forests dominated by fast-growing pioneer plant species, and by improving the conditions required for herbivores proliferation.

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