Skip to main content
Dryad logo

Data from: Linking size spectrum, energy flux and trophic multifunctionality in soil food webs of tropical land-use systems


Potapov, Anton M. et al. (2019), Data from: Linking size spectrum, energy flux and trophic multifunctionality in soil food webs of tropical land-use systems, Dryad, Dataset,


1. Many ecosystem functions depend on the structure of food webs, which heavily relies on the body size spectrum of the community. Despite that, little is known on how the size spectrum of soil animals responds to agricultural practices in tropical land-use systems and how these responses affect ecosystem functioning. 2. We studied land-use induced changes in belowground communities in tropical lowland ecosystems in Sumatra (Jambi province, Indonesia), a hotspot of tropical rainforest conversion to rubber and oil palm plantations. The study included ca. 30,000 measured individuals from 33 high-order taxa of meso- and macrofauna spanning eight orders of magnitude in body mass. Using individual body masses we calculated the metabolism of trophic guilds and used food-web models to calculate energy fluxes and infer ecosystem functions, such as decomposition, herbivory, primary and intraguild predation. 3. Land-use change was associated with reduced abundance and taxonomic diversity of soil invertebrates, but strong increase in total biomass and moderate changes in total energy flux. These changes were due to increased biomass of large-sized decomposers in soil, in particular earthworms, with their share in community metabolism increasing from 11% in rainforest to 59-76% in jungle rubber, and rubber and oil palm plantations. Decomposition, i.e. the energy flux to decomposers, stayed unchanged, but herbivory, primary and intraguild predation decreased by an order of magnitude in plantation systems. Intraguild predation was very important, being responsible for 38% of the energy flux in rainforest according to our model. 4. Conversion of rainforest into monoculture plantations is associated by an uneven loss of size classes and trophic levels of soil invertebrates resulting in sequestration of energy in large-sized primary consumers and restricted flux of energy to higher trophic levels. Pronounced differences between rainforest and jungle rubber reflect sensitivity of rainforest soil animal communities to moderate land-use changes. Soil communities in plantation systems sustained high total energy flux despite reduced biodiversity. The high energy flux into large decomposers but low energy fluxes to other trophic guilds suggests that trophic multifunctionality of belowground communities is compromised in plantation systems.

Usage Notes


Jambi province