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Data from: Habitat attributes similarities reduce impacts of land-use conversion on seed removal

Citation

Rabello, Ananza M. et al. (2017), Data from: Habitat attributes similarities reduce impacts of land-use conversion on seed removal, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.rd5k0

Abstract

Changes in land use strongly influence habitat attributes (e.g., herbaceous ground cover and tree richness) and can consequently affect ecological functions. Most studies have focused on the response of these ecological functions to land-use changes within only a single vegetation type. These studies have often focused solely on agricultural conversion of forests, making it nearly impossible to draw general conclusions across other vegetation types or with other land use changes (e.g., afforestation). We examined the consequences of agricultural conversion for seed removal by ants in native grassland, savanna, and savanna-forest habitats that had been converted to planted pastures (Brachiaria decumbens) and tree plantations (Eucalyptus spp.) and explored if changes in seed removal were correlated with differences in habitat attributes between habitat types. We found that land-use changes affected seed removal across the tree cover gradient and that the magnitude of impact was influenced by similarity in habitat attributes between native and converted habitats, being greater where there was afforestation (Eucalyptus spp in grassland and savanna). Herbaceous ground cover, soil hardness, and tree richness were the most important habitat attributes that correlated with differences in seed removal. Our results reveal that the magnitude of impact of land-use changes on seed removal varies depending on native vegetation type and is associated with the type of habitat attribute change. Our findings have implications for biodiversity in tropical grassy systems: afforestation can have a greater detrimental impact on ecological function than tree loss.

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