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Minimal spillover of native small mammals from Bornean tropical forests into adjacent oil palm plantations

Chapman, PM; Loveridge, R; Rowcliffe, M; Carbone, C; Bernard, H; Davison, CW; Ewers, RM; (2019) Minimal spillover of native small mammals from Bornean tropical forests into adjacent oil palm plantations. Frontiers in Forests and Global Change , 2 , Article 2. 10.3389/ffgc.2019.00002. Green open access

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Abstract

In the face of rapid tropical agricultural expansion, preservation of tropical forest remnants is crucially important. Forest remnants often abut the edges of new or established plantations, so landscape-level conservation requires an understanding of the balance between ecosystem services and disservices provided by forest, including potential crop yield reductions caused by species such as rodents, an important pest group in oil palm plantations. However, very little is known about the scale of any spillover of native species which inhabit forest into adjacent agricultural areas. We examined the distribution and behaviour of small mammals across an edge separating logged tropical forest and oil palm plantations in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo, using a dual approach. We used a trapping grid to reveal patterns of species relative abundance across the forest-plantation edge, and tracked individuals of forest species using a spool-and-line. We uncovered little evidence that the native forest small mammal community crosses the edge and uses the plantation, although two invasive small mammal species were found across the whole edge gradient. Of 10 forest species detected, we found only the adaptable murid Maxomys whiteheadi in the plantation, where it persisted at low abundances across all sampling points, including in the plantation interior control site. This pattern is more consistent with persistence of M. whiteheadi throughout plantations than with spill-over from forest fragments. On the forest side, observed species richness of small mammals increased with distance into the interior, suggesting a negative edge effect may exist within forest remnants. Of 23 successfully tracked small mammals, only one M. whiteheadi crossed the forest-plantation edge, and overall, this species was significantly repelled from crossing into plantation habitat. Our results suggest that spillover of native small mammals contributes little to oil palm damage close to forest-plantation edges, but that oil palm negatively impacts small mammal populations within adjacent forest remnants.

Type: Article
Title: Minimal spillover of native small mammals from Bornean tropical forests into adjacent oil palm plantations
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3389/ffgc.2019.00002
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.3389/ffgc.2019.00002
Language: English
Additional information: © 2019 Chapman, Loveridge, Rowcliffe, Carbone, Bernard, Davison and Ewers. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Keywords: Habitat edge, Small mammal, Oil palm, Spillover effect, Forest, Agricultural pests
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10069485
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