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Effects of forests, roads and mistletoe on bird diversity in monoculture rubber plantations.


ABSTRACT: Rising global demand for natural rubber is expanding monoculture rubber (Hevea brasilensis) at the expense of natural forests in the Old World tropics. Conversion of forests into rubber plantations has a devastating impact on biodiversity and we have yet to identify management strategies that can mitigate this. We determined the life-history traits that best predict bird species occurrence in rubber plantations in SW China and investigated the effects of surrounding forest cover and distance to roads on bird diversity. Mistletoes provide nectar and fruit resources in rubber so we examined mistletoe densities and the relationship with forest cover and rubber tree diameter. In rubber plantations, we recorded less than half of all bird species extant in the surrounding area. Birds with wider habitat breadths and low conservation value had a higher probability of occurrence. Species richness and diversity increased logarithmically with surrounding forest cover, but roads had little effect. Mistletoe density increased exponentially with rubber tree diameters, but was unrelated to forest cover. To maximize bird diversity in rubber-dominated landscapes it is therefore necessary to preserve as much forest as possible, construct roads through plantations and not forest, and retain some large rubber trees with mistletoes during crop rotations.

SUBMITTER: Sreekar R 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC4763173 | BioStudies | 2016-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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