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The species richness of termites (Isoptera) under differing levels of forest disturbance in the Mbalmayo Forest Reserve, southern Cameroon

  • Paul Eggleton (a1), D. E. Bignell (a2), W. A. Sands (a1), B. Waite (a3), T. G. Wood (a3) and J. H. Lawton (a4)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 July 2009

Five forest plots of differing disturbance levels were sampled qualitatively for termites in the Mbalmayo Forest Reserve, southern Cameroon, using 100 m belt transects. Results showed a large reduction in species richness in two severely disturbed plots compared with a Near Primary plot, but little difference in two less disturbed regenerating plots; there is some evidence for a slight increase in species richness in the regenerating plots. Soil-feeders predominate in the primary and regenerating plots, but are greatly reduced in the severely disturbed plots. Wood-feeders appear to be more resilient to disturbance than soil-feeders, although their species richness is low in the most disturbed plots. The Termitinae are the dominant taxonomic group in the Near Primary plot, the Apicotermitinae in the less disturbed regenerating plots and the Macrotermitinae in the clear felled areas. There appears to be no secondary invasion of plots by savanna-associated species, and the small apparent increase in species richness in the less disturbed regenerating plots appears to be due to the influx of forest species usually associated with natural gaps.

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R. Belshaw & B. Bolton 1993. The effect of forest disturbance on the leaf litter ant fauna in Ghana. Biodiversity and Conservation 2:656666.

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O. T. Matsumato & T. Abe 1979. The role of termites in an equatorial rainforest ecosystem of West Malaysia. II. Litter consumption on the forest floor. Oecologia 38:261274.

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T. G. Wood , R. A. Johnson , S. Bacchus , M. O. Shittu & J. M. Anderson 1982. Abundance and distribution of termites (Isoptera) in a Riparian forest in the Southern Guinea savanna vegetation zone of Nigeria. Biotropica 14:2539.

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Journal of Tropical Ecology
  • ISSN: 0266-4674
  • EISSN: 1469-7831
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