The Effect of Logging on the Ground-Foraging Ant Community in Eastern Amazonia

30 de julho de 2001

jul 30, 2001

Kemel A.B. Kalif, Claudia Azevedo-Ramos, Paulo Moutinho, Sérgio A.O. Malcher

In order to determine the suitability of ants as indicator organisms for habitat disruption in tropical forests, we studied the effects of both high and low impact logging on ant communities in northeastern Pará State, in the Brazilian Amazon. We collected ants from logged forests and unlogged forest sites with Winkler bags throughout the 1998 rainy season (January and April) and the following dry season (July and September). Both methods of timber harvesting showed impacts on ant community composition when compared with unlogged forest, although these impacts did not include modifications in total species richness or the relative contribution of each ant subfamily to the total number of species. Instead, logging induced alterations took place at the level of species and genera. A 2-fold reduction in the dominance of ants of the highly diverse genus Pheidole was associated with forest alterations in high-impact logging sites. Thus, logging in Amazonia can be seen to promote species shifts in ant communities, without, however, altering species richness. Ants of the genus Pheidole are potentially useful indicators for forest disturbances resulting from timber extraction.

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