Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Leaf litter ants advance case for rainforest conservation in Borneo

Date:
October 20, 2011
Source:
University of Leeds
Summary:
Studies of ant populations in Borneo reveal an unexpected resilience to areas of rainforest degraded by repeated intensive logging, a finding which conservationists hope will lead governments to conserve these areas rather than allow them to be cleared and used for cash crop plantations.

Rainforest. Studies of ant populations in Borneo reveal an unexpected resilience to areas of rainforest degraded by repeated intensive logging. A finding which conservationists hope will lead governments to conserve these areas rather than allow them to be cleared and used for cash crop plantations.
Credit: WONG SZE FEI / Fotolia

Studies of ant populations in Borneo reveal an unexpected resilience to areas of rainforest degraded by repeated intensive logging. A finding which conservationists hope will lead governments to conserve these areas rather than allow them to be cleared and used for cash crop plantations.

Related Articles


Leaf litter ants are often used to measure the overall ecological health of an area because of the large number of species present and because the health of the leaf litter is a good indication of the overall health of the forest.

It is commonly assumed that repeated logging of rainforests has catastrophic effects on biodiversity. However, studies by Leeds ecologists in northern Borneo, where timber harvests are among the highest globally, have shown that in fact over 80% of ant species found in pristine, unlogged forest were also found in forest that had been logged twice.

The findings have implications for forest conservation as areas of forest where intensive logging has been carried out are typically thought to have little conservation value and are often allowed to be cleared entirely to make way for cash crops such as oil palm.

Keith Hamer, a Reader in Animal Ecology at the Institute of Integrative & Comparative Biology, led the study. He explains: "Rainforests in Borneo are managed through a system called 'selective logging'. In this system, not all the trees are harvested, only the largest, commercially valuable trees. This is supposed to be a sustainable system, but in practice the intensity of harvesting is often too high and areas are then liable to be logged a second time before they have had a chance properly to regenerate.

"These repeatedly logged areas can look awful, with big gaps in the tree canopy which are then invaded by grasses, leading to arguments that such areas are too badly degraded for conservation."

Dr Hamer added: "The logging clearly does have an effect on ant populations but it's not nearly as disastrous as might be expected. These areas are able to support much more diverse communities than oil palm plantations but large areas are still being converted. Preventing this needs to be a priority for policy-makers and conservationists in the region."

The study is part of the Royal Society's Southeast Asia Rainforest Research Programme and is published in a special edition of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. It was supported by a grant from the Leverhulme Trust.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Leeds. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. P. Woodcock, D. P. Edwards, T. M. Fayle, R. J. Newton, C. V. Khen, S. H. Bottrell, K. C. Hamer. The conservation value of South East Asia's highly degraded forests: evidence from leaf-litter ants. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2011; 366 (1582): 3256 DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2011.0031

Cite This Page:

University of Leeds. "Leaf litter ants advance case for rainforest conservation in Borneo." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111020105758.htm>.
University of Leeds. (2011, October 20). Leaf litter ants advance case for rainforest conservation in Borneo. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111020105758.htm
University of Leeds. "Leaf litter ants advance case for rainforest conservation in Borneo." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111020105758.htm (accessed January 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nanoscale Sensor Could Help Wine Producers and Clinical Scientists

Nanoscale Sensor Could Help Wine Producers and Clinical Scientists

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 30, 2015) A nanosensor that mimics the oral effects and sensations of drinking wine has been developed by Danish and Portuguese researchers. Jim Drury saw it in operation. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dog-Loving Astronaut Wins Best Photo of 2015

Dog-Loving Astronaut Wins Best Photo of 2015

Buzz60 (Jan. 30, 2015) Retired astronaut and television host, Leland Melvin, snuck his dogs into the NASA studio so they could be in his official photo. As Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) shows us, the secret is out. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Wants to Analyze DNA from 1 Million People

U.S. Wants to Analyze DNA from 1 Million People

Reuters - US Online Video (Jan. 30, 2015) The U.S. has proposed analyzing genetic information from more than 1 million American volunteers to learn how genetic variants affect health and disease. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rarest Cat on Planet Caught Attacking Monkeys on Camera

Rarest Cat on Planet Caught Attacking Monkeys on Camera

Buzz60 (Jan. 30, 2015) An African Golden Cat, the rarest large cat on the planet was recently caught on camera by scientists trying to study monkeys. The cat comes out of nowhere to attack those monkeys. Patrick Jones (@Patrick_E_Jones) has the rest. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins