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Data from: Do secondary forests act as refuges for old growth forest animals? Recovery of ant diversity in the Atlantic forest of Brazil

Citation

Bihn, Jochen H.; Verhaagh, Manfred; Brändle, Martin; Brandl, Roland (2011), Data from: Do secondary forests act as refuges for old growth forest animals? Recovery of ant diversity in the Atlantic forest of Brazil, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.3h12j8d3

Abstract

The extent to which secondary forests occupying degraded and abandoned lands provide suitable habitat for forest-adapted species is an important conservation issue in times of vanishing old growth forests. We used ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), a functionally important and diverse group of invertebrates, to investigate the recovery of soil taxa during secondary forest succession in the Atlantic Forest of Southern Brazil. We compared the resilience of epigeic vs. hypogeic ant assemblages. For this purpose we established 27 sites that encompassed a chronosequence from pastures to old growth forests on two contrasting soil types. Our results are based on a collection of 35 508 individuals in 40 genera. Richness and composition of ant assemblages in secondary forests have recovered slowly and have not approached conditions typical of old growth forests. The distribution of genera along the successional stages was arranged in a nested pattern where ant genera of younger successional stages were a subset of genera present in older stages. Edaphic conditions had no influence on the recovery process. Overall, richness of ants was lower at study sites with water-logged soils than at sites where soils did not exhibit hydromorphic properties. The hypogeic ant assemblage recovered more slowly than the epigeic assemblage. Our results show that secondary forests do not act as refuges for many forest-adapted animals which are currently restricted to discontinuous patches of old growth forest in the highly endangered Atlantic Forest of Brazil. Moreover, estimated recovery times of 50 to several hundred years suggest it would take much longer than previously presumed for complete recolonization.

Usage Notes

Location

Brazil
Paraná