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Termite diversity and species composition in heath forests, mixed dipterocarp forests, and pristine and selectively logged tropical peat swamp forests in Brunei

Bourguignon, T., Dahlsjö, C. A. L., Salim, K. A., Evans, T. A.
Insectes sociaux 2018 v.65 no.3 pp. 439-444
Dipterocarpaceae, Isoptera, anthropogenic activities, carbon dioxide, climate change, endangered species, forests, invertebrates, logging, peat, protocols, social insects, species richness, swamps, tropics, Brunei
Since the 1970s Southeast Asian peat swamp forests have been increasingly threatened by anthropogenic disturbance. Peat swamps act as refuge for many endangered species, and they may turn into a net producer of CO₂ and greatly contribute to climate change if cleared and drained. As one of the main invertebrate decomposers in the tropics, termites are likely to play a major role in peat forests. In this paper, we used a grid-based sampling plot protocol to sample termites in Brunei. We sampled termite communities in pristine and selectively logged peat swamp forests, that we compared with termite communities sampled in heath and dipterocarp forests. More precisely, we determined: (i) termite species diversity in peat swamp forests, and (ii) how termites respond to peat swamp logging. We found that species richness was the highest in the mixed dipterocarp forest. Selective logging had limited impact on species richness in peat swamp forest, suggesting that termite communities are resilient to limited amount of perturbations. Further data are needed to better understand the impact peat swamp clearance has on termite populations and their contribution to climate change.