Monitoring of arboreal arthropod communities across a land-use gradient in Sumatra, Indonesia

Tree canopies comprise the bulk of animal biodiversity in tropical rainforests. Much of this diversity is strongly affected by transformation of rainforests into other forest systems or arable land as many of the arthropods are specialists feeding only on certain plant species or preying on a narrow spectrum of invertebrates. Numerous of these species are assumed to go extinct before they have been recorded by science.
Within the Central Scientific Support Unit 990 (‘EFForTS’-project: Ecological and Socioeconomic functions of tropical lowland rainforest transformation systems in Sumatra, Indonesia), I main aim is to measure aboveground biodiversity patterns across a land-use gradient (old growth secondary forest, jungle rubber, rubber and oil palm plantations) by sampling arboreal arthropod communities. Arthropods are sampled by fogging with a knock-down insecticide, and analyzed by functional groups (or guilds) to reveal potential differences in food-web structure between ecosystems along the land-use gradient.
Although arboreal in the adult stage, many of the arboreal species may temporally reside or seek refuge in soil and it is increasingly realized that above- and belowground communities are more closely linked than previously assumed. Above- and belowground animal communities therefore form interlinked compartments of the food web of terrestrial ecosystems. By jointly analyzing data sets across the various workgroups within the CRC990/EFForTS-project, we therefore hope to gain an in-depth understanding of agricultural impacts on the biological diversity and ecosystem stability of tropical rainforest ecosystems.
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