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Changes in the diversity of assemblages of ground foraging ants in response to land use and agricultural intensification


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A Presentation made by the Ugandan team During the Closing Conference of the Conservation and Sustainable management of the Below Ground Biodiversity Project

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Changes in the diversity of assemblages of ground foraging ants in response to land use and agricultural intensification

  1. 1. Changes in the diversity of assemblages of ground-foraging ants in response to land use and agricultural intensification 1Anne M. Akol, 2Alan P. Lugoloobi, 3Mary J.N. Okwakol 1Department of Zoology, Makerere University, Box 7062, Kampala, Uganda; 2National Agricultural Research Laboratories-Kawanda, Box 7065, Kampala, Uganda; 3CSM-BGBD Project Uganda, Box 22474, Kampala, Uganda Introduction Methods The increasing d Th i i demands f f d d d for food due t growing h to i human populations i th f l ti in the face of d li i f declining Sampling f ground assemblages of ants was d S li for d bl f t done i M bi f in Mabira forest (U t (Uganda), a mid-altitude d ) id ltit d agricultural productivity have spurred new attention on soil resources, particularly how they tropical forest. The area comprises six broad land use types ranging from those used could be improved and harnessed to sustain agricultural productivity. The challenge could be intensively in agriculture through medium intensity mixed cropping systems to less intensively met by adopting more ecologically sound production practices that promote the activities of soil used intact forest. Ants were sampled using a combination of methods (monoliths, pitfall biota, such as ants, that promote healthy soils. This study examined the impact of land-use traps, litter bags and from soil scrapes). conversions and agricultural intensification on the diversity of ant communities in/on soil. Results Sixty-eight ant genera from six sub-families (Formicinae, Ponerinae, Myrmecinae, Dorylinae, Dolichoderinae and Pseudomyrmecinae) were recovered. Ants of the Myrmecinae and Ponerinae were the most prevalent while members of Dorylinae, Dolichoderinae and Pseudomyrmecinae were less common. Conversion of forest to other derived land-use forms and increasing agricultural intensification Forest-fallow interface was associated with reduced richness and relative abundance of ants (Figures 1 and 2 Multiple cropping system sugarcane respectively), respectively) as well as changes in the composition of ant communities (Bray-Curtis Increasing intensification distance metric and Ward clustering) (Figure 3) Land use types Land use types 18 800 16 F5,90 = 5.623; P<0.001 700 Kobs = 18.366; df=5; P<0.01 14 R2 = 0.238 600 12 a 500 ance ess 10 ab richne abunda 400 8 bc 300 6 bc c c c 200 bc 4 100 abc 2 a ab a 0 0 MCS Sugarcane Forest Fallow Grassland Tea Forest Fallow Grass land MCS Sugarcane Tea Land use intensification Land use intensification 18 800 16 700 Kobs = 11 173 df 2 P<0 01 11.173; df=2; P<0.01 F2,93 = 11.447; P<0.001 14 R2 = 0.198 600 12 a 500 richness 10 abundance 400 8 b b 300 6 b 200 4 a 2 100 a 0 0 high low m edium high low medium Figure 1 [MCS = multiple cropping system] Figure 2 Figure 3 Conclusion Acknowledgements Ground-foraging ant communities are sensitive to agricultural disturbance and may respond by showing This work was made possible by the support received from UNEP/GEF under changes in richness, relative abundance and/or composition. These responses may have implications the auspices of the CSM-BGBD Project implemented by CIAT-TSBF for the functioning of affected ecosystems