Virtual Issue: Tropical Biology and Conservation

Edited by Susan Cheyne
June 2016

There are few landscapes in the tropics which are not impacted by humans in some way. From small-scale harvesting of non-timber forest products to plantations and extractive industry, humans are shaping tropical landscapes and forests at a rapid and increasing rate.

With many of these areas also being biodiversity hotspots and home to many threatened and endemic species, a greater understanding of the impacts human activities are having on flora and fauna are essential.

The papers gathered under this Virtual Issue for the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation 2016 Annual Meeting represent a fraction of the work in a field which is rapidly expanding. Yet these papers exemplify the high quality of the science being produced by researchers and practitioners who are increasingly making use of new techniques and technologies, and successfully engaging and partnering with industry and stakeholders to lead the way in policy reform and best practice management.

The impacts of near ubiquitous oil palm plantations cannot be ignored, and this Virtual Issue highlights work which addresses the many conservation issues surrounding these and other plantations. Such research papers are essential both to guide best practice for the plantations themselves and inform conservation management planning.

Effective management depends on accurate and robust science that outlines rates of forest recovery or the impacts of anthropogenic activities on a range of wildlife. Using species such as birds and insects as indicator species is a tried and tested method but no two forests or guilds of species are the same and detailed work is needed from many different sites to avoid making inaccurate extrapolations of results. Equally the study of mammals with different life history characteristics in disturbed forests can provide important information on the impacts of different management strategies.

While much work remains to be done, we hope that the high quality of work being done and the wide range of subjects being addressed provide a firm evidence base to inform policy and best practices, and enable practitioners to overcome obstacles relating to biodiversity and habitat conservation.

Anthropogenic Disturbance and Impacts on Wildlife

Demographic superiority with increased logging in tropical understorey insectivorous birds
Srinivasan, U., Hines, J. E., Quader, S.

Riparian reserves within oil palm plantations conserve logged forest leaf litter ant communities and maintain associated scavenging rates
Gray, C. L., Lewis, O. T., Chung, A. Y. C., Fayle, T. M.

Reconciling timber extraction with biodiversity conservation in tropical forests using reduced-impact logging
Bicknell, J. E., Struebig, M. J., Davies, Z. G.

Shade-grown cacao supports a self-sustaining population of two-toed but not three-toed sloths
Peery, M. Z., Pauli, J. N.

Chronic anthropogenic disturbance drives the biological impoverishment of the Brazilian Caatinga vegetation

Ribeiro, E. M. S., Arroyo-Rodríguez, V., Santos, B. A., Tabarelli, M., Leal, I. R.

Managing Neotropical oil palm expansion to retain phylogenetic diversity
Prescott, G. W., Gilroy, J. J., Haugaasen, T., Medina Uribe, C. A., Foster, W. A., Edwards, D. P.

Do space-for-time assessments underestimate the impacts of logging on tropical biodiversity? An Amazonian case study using dung beetles
França, F., Louzada, J., Korasaki, V., Griffiths, H., Silveira, J. M., Barlow, J.

Artificial light puts ecosystem services of frugivorous bats at risk
Lewanzik, D., Voigt, C. C.

The ecology and economics of shorebird conservation in a tropical human-modified landscape
Green, J. M. H., Sripanomyom, S., Giam, X., Wilcove, D. S.

Forest Recovery and Restoration

Partial recovery of a tropical rain forest a half-century after clear-cut and selective logging
Xu, H., Li, Y., Liu, S., Zang, R., He, F., Spence, J. R.

Practitioner’s Perspective: Using plant functional traits to restore Hawaiian rainforest
Ostertag, R., Warman, L., Cordell, S., Vitousek, P. M.

How persistent are the impacts of logging roads on Central African forest vegetation?
Kleinschroth, F., Healey, J. R., Sist, P., Mortier, F., Gourlet-Fleury, S.

Policy and Management

Avian species identity drives predation success in tropical cacao agroforestry
Maas, B., Tscharntke, T., Saleh, S., Dwi Putra, D., Clough, Y.

Testing a silvicultural recommendation: Brazil nut responses 10 years after liana cutting
Kainer, K. A., Wadt, L. H.O., Staudhammer, C. L.

Big-leaf mahogany Swietenia macrophylla population dynamics and implications for sustainable management
Grogan, J., Landis, R. M., Free, C. M., Schulze, M. D., Lentini, M., Ashton, M. S.

Sustainable harvesting of non-timber forest products based on ecological and economic criteria
Hernández-Barrios, J. C., Anten, N. P. R., Martínez-Ramos, M.

Policy Direction: The need for a consistent fire policy for Cerrado conservation
Durigan, G., Ratter, J. A.

Surrounding habitats mediate the trade-off between land-sharing and land-sparing agriculture in the tropics
Gilroy, J. J., Edwards, F. A., Medina Uribe, C. A., Haugaasen, T., Edwards, D. P.

Fuel, fire and cattle in African highlands: traditional management maintains a mosaic heathland landscape
Johansson, M. U., Granström, A.

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