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Title: Road-associated edge effects in Amazonia change termite community composition by modifying environmental conditions
Authors: Sales Dambros, Cristian de
Silva, Valéria Natália Vasconcelos da
Azevedo, Renato A.
Morais, José Wellington
Keywords: Buffer Zone
Canopy Architecture
Community Composition
Edge Effect
Habitat Fragmentation
Road Construction
Soil Moisture
Issue Date: 2013
metadata.dc.publisher.journal: Journal for Nature Conservation
metadata.dc.relation.ispartof: Volume 21, Número 5, Pags. 279-285
Abstract: Roads and road-building are among the most important environmental impacts on forests near urban areas, but their effects on ecosystem processes and species distributions remain poorly known. Termites are the primary decomposer organisms in tropical forests and their spatial distribution is strongly affected by vegetation and soil structure. We studied the impacts of road construction on termite community structure in an Amazonian forest fragment near Manaus, Brazil. One leading question was whether the fragment under study was large enough to maintain the termite species pool present in nearby continuous forests. We also asked how soil moisture and canopy openness varied with proximity to roads, and whether these changes were associated with changes in termite species richness and composition in the fragment. While the forest fragment had a termite composition very similar to that of continuous forests, roads caused important changes in soil moisture and canopy openness, especially when close to forest edges. At distances of up to 81. m from roads, changes in soil moisture were significantly related to changes in termite species composition, but there was no correlation between canopy openness and species richness or composition. These results suggest that fragmentation caused by roads impacts termites in a different and less damaging manner than fragmentation caused by other kinds of degradation, and that even fragments bisected by roads can support very diverse communities and even undescribed taxa of termites. We conclude that a buffer zone should be established for conservation purposes in the reserves surrounded by roads. © 2013 Elsevier GmbH.
metadata.dc.identifier.doi: 10.1016/j.jnc.2013.02.003
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