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Subtle land-use change and tropical biodiversity: dung beetle communities in Cerrado grasslands and exotic pastures

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>11/2011
Issue number6
Number of pages7
Pages (from-to)704-710
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Although many tropical savannas are highly influenced by humans, the patterns of biodiversity loss in these systems remain poorly understood. In particular, the biodiversity consequences of replacing native grasslands with exotic pastures have not been studied. Here we examine how the conversion of the native savanna grasslands affects dung beetle communities. Our study was conducted in 14 native (grassland: campo limpo), and 21 exotic (Urochloa spp. monoculture) pastures in Carrancas, Minas Gerais, Brazil. We collected 4996 dung beetle individuals from 66 species: 3139 individuals from 50 species in native pastures and 1857 individuals from 55 species in the exotic pastures. Exotic pastures had lower dung beetle richness, abundance and biomass than native pastures. Species composition between the two pasture types was significantly different and exotic pastures were dominated by few abundant species. Indicator species analysis detected 16 species indicators of native pastures and three of exotic pastures, according to relative abundance and frequency in each pasture system. Our results show that the conversion of native pastures to exotic pastures leads to a predictable loss of local species richness, increasing dominance and changes in species composition. These results highlight the importance of maintaining native pastures in the Cerrado agro-pastoral landscape.