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    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Shukla, R.K. Singh, H. Rastogi, N. and Agarwal, V.M. 2013. Impact of abundant Pheidole ant species on soil nutrients in relation to the food biology of the species. Applied Soil Ecology, Vol. 71, p. 15.


    Della Lucia, Terezinha MC Gandra, Lailla C and Guedes, Raul NC 2014. Managing leaf-cutting ants: peculiarities, trends and challenges. Pest Management Science, Vol. 70, Issue. 1, p. 14.


    Leal, Inara R. Wirth, Rainer and Tabarelli, Marcelo 2014. The Multiple Impacts of Leaf-Cutting Ants and Their Novel Ecological Role in Human-Modified Neotropical Forests. Biotropica, Vol. 46, Issue. 5, p. 516.


    Sousa-Souto, Leandro Guerra, Marcelo Braga Bueno Ambrogi, Bianca G. and Pereira-Filho, Edenir R. 2012. Nest refuse of leaf-cutting ants mineralize faster than leaf fragments: Results from a field experiment in Northeast Brazil. Applied Soil Ecology, Vol. 61, p. 131.


    MEYER, SEBASTIAN T. NEUBAUER, MEIKE SAYER, EMMA J. LEAL, INARA R. TABARELLI, MARCELO and WIRTH, RAINER 2013. Leaf-cutting ants as ecosystem engineers: topsoil and litter perturbations aroundAtta cephalotesnests reduce nutrient availability. Ecological Entomology, Vol. 38, Issue. 5, p. 497.


    Sousa-Souto, Leandro Santos, Danielle Caroline de Jesus Ambrogi, Bianca Giuliano Santos, Mário Jorge Campos dos Guerra, Marcelo Braga Bueno and Pereira-Filho, Edenir Rodrigues 2012. Increased CO2 emission and organic matter decomposition by leaf-cutting ant nests in a coastal environment. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, Vol. 44, Issue. 1, p. 21.


    Madureira, Marcelo S. Schoereder, José H. Teixeira, Marcos C. and Sobrinho, Tathiana G. 2013. Why does Atta robusta (Formicidae) not change soil features around their nests as other leaf-cutting ants do?. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, Vol. 57, p. 916.


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Ant nests and soil nutrient availability: the negative impact of fire

  • Leandro Sousa-Souto (a1), José H. Schoereder (a2), Carlos Ernesto G. R. Schaefer (a3) and Washington L. Silva (a4)
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0266467408005464
  • Published online: 01 November 2008
Abstract
Abstract:

High-nutrient patches are important for regulating the structure and physiognomy of dystrophic habitats. Leaf-cutting ants create these rich patches in many neotropical habitats. Burning, however, could diminish or even annul the effects of ant nests on soil properties. To test this hypothesis, we compared the nutrient concentrations at various depths in soil samples near three nests of the leaf-cutting ant Atta laevigata and three non-nest soils, located in 10-ha plots subjected to burning or with fire-protection within a Brazilian cerrado. Root density in ant-nest soil was greater than in non-nest soil in both unburned and burned plots. Besides, the concentration of Ca, Mg, K and P increased 2–50-fold in ant nests from the unburned area compared to non-nest soils. In contrast, nutrient concentrations and pH in burned ant nests were similar to or lower than non-nest soils, but the nests maintained higher values of organic matter and cation exchange capacity. The positive effect of leaf-cutting ant nests as high-nutrient patches may be strongly reduced in habitats with frequent burning. In this case, the negative effects of leaf-cutter herbivory on a plant community could surpass the benefits of local nutrient enrichment by their nests.

Resumo: Sauveiros modificam as propriedades físicas e químicas do solo, alterando a estrutura e fisionomia local. Entretanto, queimadas podem reduzir os efeitos dos formigueiros nesses ambientes como, por exemplo, pela diminuição do forrageamento das formigas e, conseqüentemente, pela baixa incorporação de material orgânico ao solo. Este estudo testou o efeito do fogo sobre a concentração de nutrientes no solo de colônias de Atta laevigata em área de cerrado. A densidade de raízes foi maior nas colônias do que áreas controle, independentemente da presença do fogo. Na ausência de queimadas, as concentrações de nutrientes foram até 50 vezes superiores nos sauveiros. Contudo, queimadas reduzem a concentração de nutrientes e pH nas colônias. Possivelmente, essa baixa concentração seja atribuída à maior demanda pela vegetação remanescente, em resposta à perturbação provocada pelo fogo. Nesse caso, os efeitos negativos da herbivoria podem superar os benefícios causados por meio da disponibilização de nutrientes pelos sauveiros.

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Corresponding author
1Corresponding author. Present address: Departamento de Biologia, Laboratório de Entomologia, Universidade Federal de Sergipe, Brazil, 49100–000. Email: leandrosouto@insecta.ufv.br
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