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Data from: Short-term changes in the structure of termite assemblages associated with slash-and-burn agriculture in Côte d'Ivoire

Citation

Dosso, Kanvaly et al. (2017), Data from: Short-term changes in the structure of termite assemblages associated with slash-and-burn agriculture in Côte d'Ivoire, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.dk310

Abstract

Termites are major decomposers in tropical regions and play critical roles in many soil-related processes. Studies conducted in Asia and the Neotropics suggest that habitat modification can strongly affect termite assemblages, but data on termite communities from forests in Africa, especially West Africa, are scarce. Here, we measured the short-term impact of slash-and-burn agriculture on termite assemblages in an agricultural region of central Côte d'Ivoire. We assessed termite diversity and relative abundance in four habitat types: secondary forest, cleared forest, burned forest, and crop fields. The secondary forest had higher species richness compared with the other habitats, but all habitat types had similar assemblage structures. Fungus-growing termites were the most abundant feeding group in all habitats. Soil feeders were most abundant in secondary forest, intermediately abundant in cleared and burned forests, and almost entirely absent in crop fields. Wood-feeding species showed clear responses to burning; their abundances decreased after fire. We conclude that slash-and-burn agriculture does not appear to severely erode the diversity of termite assemblages. This could be due to the dominance of ecologically versatile fungus growers or to the relatively long time between clearing and burning. However, forest clearing negatively affects soil feeders, with the Apicotermitinae most affected by canopy loss.

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