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  • Correaetal2020_10iii2020

    Rights statement: The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10531-020-01975-x

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    Embargo ends: 6/04/21

    Available under license: CC BY-NC: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

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Successional trajectory of dung beetle communities in a tropical grassy ecosystem after livestock grazing removal

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/06/2020
<mark>Journal</mark>Biodiversity and Conservation
Volume29
Number of pages18
Pages (from-to)2311-2328
Publication statusPublished
Early online date6/04/20
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Grazing by large herbivorous mammals is still a structuring force in tropical grassy ecosystems, and cattle grazing is one of the main economic activities carried out in these ecosystems in modern times. Therefore, understanding the impacts of cattle grazing removal on biodiversity may be a key step for conservation of this ecosystem. Here, we studied the successional trajectory of dung beetle communities in a tropical grassy ecosystem after cattle removal. For this, we assessed the patterns of dung beetle taxonomic and functional diversity of 14 natural grasslands with distinct cattle grazing removal ages (from 3 months to 22 years) along a chronosequence, applying the space-for-time substitution method. Our results show a strong decrease in dung beetle abundance (93 times) and species richness (6 times) in the first ten years of cattle removal. However, after ten years there is an increase in dung beetle abundance (73 times) and species richness (5 times). Taxonomic composition was also influenced by cattle removal time demonstrating the importance of cattle in the structuring of dung beetle communities in natural grasslands. In contrast, functional composition and diversity were not affected by cattle grazing removal, indicating these metrics are less sensitive to cattle absence than taxonomic diversity and composition. Our results provide evidence that cattle grazing removal, at least in the short term (10 years), may be an inefficient management tool for restoration and conservation of tropical grassy ecosystems. However, we highlight the need to investigate the reintroduction of cattle grazing after different removal times to provide complimentary information to livestock management able to integrate human use and conservation of tropical grassy ecosystems.

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The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10531-020-01975-x