Data from: Selective logging intensity in an East African rain forest predicts reductions in ant diversity
Ross, Samuel R. P-J. et al. (2018), Data from: Selective logging intensity in an East African rain forest predicts reductions in ant diversity, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.8hq75j7
As natural forest ecosystems increasingly face pressure from deforestation, it is ever more important to understand the impacts of habitat fragmentation and degradation on biodiversity. Most studies of anthropogenic change in the tropics come from Southeast Asia and South America, and impacts of habitat modification are often taxon-specific. Here we empirically assessed the impact of habitat fragmentation and recent (within 25 years) and historic (>25 years ago) selective logging on the diversity of ants in the Kakamega rain forest in western Kenya, and asked whether these forms of degradation interact as multiple stressors. We found that the severity of recent selective logging was negatively related to overall species richness and abundance as well as the richness and abundance of forest specialists, but found no detrimental effect of past selective logging or habitat fragmentation on ant diversity, although habitat fragment size was correlated with estimated species richness. There was also no effect of any form of habitat degradation on the richness or abundance of open habitat specialists, even though these species often exploit niches created in disturbed environments. Ultimately, this study reveals the detrimental impact of even moderate forms of habitat degradation on insect biodiversity in the understudied African rain forests.