The effect of habitat transformation on diversity and community structure of ants In Jambi

Land-use change causes undesirable effects such as biodiversity decline, altered community structure and reduced ecosystem services. Changes in species composition and disrupted trophic interactions between pests and their natural enemies may also result causing decreased ecosystem services. We studied the effects of forest habitat transformation on the community structure of ants, which include major biological control agents. We focused on four types of land use around Harapan Forest (Harapan) and Bukit Duabelas National Park (BDNP), Jambi, Sumatra, Indonesia: forest, jungle rubber, rubber plantations and oil palm plantations. Four replicate patches of each land-use type were sampled, with plot sizes of 50 x 50 m at each of the 32 sites. Ants were collected by hand in combination with tuna and sugar baiting on three strata i.e. leaf litter, soil and tree. We found 104 ant species in total. Surprisingly, ant species richness per plot was not significantly different among land-use types, both in Harapan and BDNP. However, few ant species were shared among different land-use types. Forest and jungle rubber communities are relatively similar to each other (but still different), and distinct from communities in oil palm and rubber plantations. We conclude that conversion of remnant forested habitats to plantations would result in a net loss of ant species, even though ant species richness in plantations and forested habitats are similar.