Habitat Degradation Shapes Biodiversity Patterns of Plants and Ants in Southwestern Madagaskar
Roman Fricke, Marvin Luck, Lars Opgenoorth
Philipps University of Marburg, Animal Ecology, Germany
The Mahafaly plateau in southwestern Madagascar is part of a semi-arid region, characterised by a high level of local endemism in plants and animals (e.g. > 90% of the woody species are endemic). The natural vegetation of the area would be deciduous spiny forests. However, poverty and the fast population growth lead to an increased exploitation of the natural resources by the local population. The present extensive but non-sustainable land use practices for subsistence caused habitat degradation of forests (e.g. due to overgrazing, collection of firewood, logging and charcoal production) and the conversion of natural forests to cultural land (e.g. non-fertilised crop fields, hedges). Apparently, the land use type and land use intensity have pronounced impacts on biodiversity patterns of the natural assemblages, even in this remote area and even in the local National Park Tsimanampetsotse. The exact patterns of the biodiversity are, however, unknown.
Keywords: Beta diversity, community composition, land use, Madagascar, nestedness
Contact Address: Roland Brandl, Philipps University of Marburg, Animal Ecology, Karl-Von-Frisch-Str. 8, 35037 Marburg, Germany, e-mail: brandlrstaff.uni-marburg.de