B13 - Impact of management intensity and tree enrichment of oil palm plantations on below- and aboveground invertebrates in Sumatra (Indonesia)

Tropical lowland rain forests in Sumatra (Indonesia) have been extensively converted into oil palm plantations. The effects of this conversion on above- and below-ground animals have been little studied. In this project we investigate (1) the effect of different management intensities (two fertilizer input levels, two weeding types) on soil animal communities and microorganisms in oil palm plantations and (2) the effect of enrichment of oil palm plantations with native tree species on above- and belowground invertebrate animal communities (cooperation with B11) and on microorganisms. We hypothesize that (1) increasing management intensities decreases the complexity of belowground animal and microbial communities and that (2) the enrichment of oil palm plantations with forest tree species increases density, diversity and complexity of below- but in particular of aboveground invertebrate animal and microbial communities. Overall, the project aims at identifying conditions allowing to ameliorate detrimental effects of conversion of tropical lowland rainforest into agricultural production systems for the structure and functioning of animal and microbial communities and to develop strategies for harmonizing conservation and socioeconomic needs.