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Forests 2016, 7(4), 82; doi:10.3390/f7040082

How natural Forest Conversion Affects Insect Biodiversity in the Peruvian Amazon: Can Agroforestry Help?

1
Department of Crop Sciences and Agroforestry, Faculty of Tropical AgriSciences, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Kamýcká 129, Prague 16500, Czech Republic
2
CIDRA, Centro de Investigacion y Desarrollo Rural Amazonico, Universidad Nacional de Ucayali, Pucallpa, Peru
3
Laboratory of Tropical and Subtropical Agriculture and Ethnobotany, Ghent University, Coupure links 653, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
4
World Agroforestry Centre, United Nations Avenue, Gigiri, PO Box 30677, Nairobi 00100, Kenya
5
Department of Soil Science and Soil Protection, Faculty of Agrobiology, Food and Natural Resources, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Kamýcká 129, 16500 Prague, Czech Republic
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Diana F. Tomback
Received: 31 August 2015 / Revised: 6 March 2016 / Accepted: 23 March 2016 / Published: 8 April 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity and Conservation in Forests)
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Abstract

The Amazonian rainforest is a unique ecosystem that comprises habitat for thousands of animal species. Over the last decades, the ever-increasing human population has caused forest conversion to agricultural land with concomitant high biodiversity losses, mainly near a number of fast-growing cities in the Peruvian Amazon. In this research, we evaluated insect species richness and diversity in five ecosystems: natural forests, multistrata agroforests, cocoa agroforests, annual cropping monoculture and degraded grasslands. We determined the relationship between land use intensity and insect diversity changes. Collected insects were taxonomically determined to morphospecies and data evaluated using standardized biodiversity indices. The highest species richness and abundance were found in natural forests, followed by agroforestry systems. Conversely, monocultures and degraded grasslands were found to be biodiversity-poor ecosystems. Diversity indices were relatively high for all ecosystems assessed with decreasing values along the disturbance gradient. An increase in land use disturbance causes not only insect diversity decreases but also complete changes in species composition. As agroforests, especially those with cocoa, currently cover many hectares of tropical land and show a species composition similar to natural forest sites, we can consider them as biodiversity reservoirs for some of the rainforest insect species. View Full-Text
Keywords: cocoa agroforests; deforestation; diversity losses; habitat conversion; insect diversity; multistrata agroforests; natural forests; species richness cocoa agroforests; deforestation; diversity losses; habitat conversion; insect diversity; multistrata agroforests; natural forests; species richness
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Perry, J.; Lojka, B.; Quinones Ruiz, L.G.; Van Damme, P.; Houška, J.; Fernandez Cusimamani, E. How natural Forest Conversion Affects Insect Biodiversity in the Peruvian Amazon: Can Agroforestry Help? Forests 2016, 7, 82.

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