Diversity 2013, 5(1), 1-14; doi:10.3390/d5010001

Human-Induced Disturbance Alters Pollinator Communities in Tropical Mountain Forests

1 Institute of Biology/Geobotany and Botanical Garden, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Am Kirchtor 1, 06108 Halle, Germany 2 Estación Biológica Tunquini, Instituto de Ecología, Universidad Mayor de San Andrés, Casilla 10077, Correo Central. La Paz, Bolivia 3 Herbario Nacional de Bolivia, Universidad Mayor de San Andrés, Cota Cota, La Paz 10077, Bolivia 4 Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F) and Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung, 60325 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
* Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 13 November 2012; in revised form: 29 November 2012 / Accepted: 14 December 2012 / Published: 27 December 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tropical Forests Ecology and Climate Change)
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Abstract: Mountain forest ecosystems in the Andes are threatened by deforestation. Increasing fire frequencies lead to fire-degraded habitats that are often characterized by a persistent fern-dominated vegetation. Little is known about the consequences of these drastic changes in habitat conditions for pollinator communities. In a rapid diversity assessment, we collected individuals of two major groups of insect pollinators (bees and butterflies/moths) with pan traps and compared pollinator diversities in a spatial block design between forest interior, forest edge and adjacent fire-degraded habitats at eight sites in the Bolivian Andes. We found that bee species richness and abundance were significantly higher in fire-degraded habitats than in forest habitats, whereas species richness and abundance of butterflies/moths increased towards the forests interior. Species turnover between forest and fire-degraded habitats was very high for both pollinator groups and was reflected by an increase in the body size of bee species and a decrease in the body size of butterfly/moth species in fire-degraded habitats. We conclude that deforestation by frequent fires has profound impacts on the diversity and composition of pollinator communities. Our tentative findings suggest shifts towards bee-dominated pollinator communities in fire-degraded habitats that may have important feedbacks on the regenerating communities of insect-pollinated plant species.
Keywords: Anthropogenic fires; Apiformes; biodiversity; body size; Bolivian Andes; human disturbance; insect pollinators; Lepidoptera; rain forest; species traits

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MDPI and ACS Style

Kambach, S.; Guerra, F.; Beck, S.G.; Hensen, I.; Schleuning, M. Human-Induced Disturbance Alters Pollinator Communities in Tropical Mountain Forests. Diversity 2013, 5, 1-14.

AMA Style

Kambach S, Guerra F, Beck SG, Hensen I, Schleuning M. Human-Induced Disturbance Alters Pollinator Communities in Tropical Mountain Forests. Diversity. 2013; 5(1):1-14.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Kambach, Stephan; Guerra, Fernando; Beck, Stephan G.; Hensen, Isabell; Schleuning, Matthias. 2013. "Human-Induced Disturbance Alters Pollinator Communities in Tropical Mountain Forests." Diversity 5, no. 1: 1-14.

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