Effect of tree plantations on the functional composition of Odonata species in the highlands of southern Brazil
Changes in biodiversity have mainly been assessed using taxonomical diversity indices. Although these approaches contribute to the scientific understanding of species richness and composition patterns, trait-based metrics may be more useful for detecting responses to land use change. We used odonates as a model system to compare traits composition in mixed ombrophilous forest (MOF) and tree plantations: exotic species (Pinus sp.) and native species (Araucaria angustifolia). Our goal was to understand and compare how each vegetation type affects the selection of species traits, and which factors are responsible for the presence of the species in the environment. We recorded 36 Odonata species distributed across 14 functional groups. The functional composition varied between MOF and exotic tree plantations and was similar between these two habitats and native tree plantations. Native forest favoured specialist traits. Our results suggest that the conversion of MOF to tree plantations, especially exotic ones, results in a shift to less specialized Odonata communities with altered functional group composition. This result highlights the negative impact associated with the conversion of native forests into exotic plantations. Our results show that odonates with specialist traits are limited to natural forest sites, which makes the conservation of such areas crucial.
Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10750-017-3431-9
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