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Relationships of stream invertebrate communities to deforestation in eastern Madagascar

Benstead, Jonathan P. P., Douglas, Michael M. and Pringle, Catherine M. (2003). Relationships of stream invertebrate communities to deforestation in eastern Madagascar. Ecological Applications,13(5):1473-1490.

Document type: Journal Article
Citation counts: Scopus Citation Count Cited 35 times in Scopus Article | Citations

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Title Relationships of stream invertebrate communities to deforestation in eastern Madagascar
Author Benstead, Jonathan P. P.
Douglas, Michael M.
Pringle, Catherine M.
Journal Name Ecological Applications
Publication Date 2003
Volume Number 13
Issue Number 5
ISSN 1051-0761   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-0344843838
Start Page 1473
End Page 1490
Total Pages 18
Place of Publication Washington, United States
Publisher Ecological Society of America
Field of Research 0501 - Ecological Applications
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DEST)
Abstract Madagascar has been recently identified as a global hotspot for freshwater biodiversity. Loss of most of its eastern rain forest, combined with a high incidence of micro-endemism and specialization to forest stream habitats, has likely led to extinction of many of the island's stream insect species. We compared habitat and macroinvertebrate community structure in three streams draining protected rain forest within Ranomafana National Park in eastern Madagascar and three agriculture streams draining the park's largely deforested peripheral zone. Multivariate analyses showed that macroinvertebrate commu- nities differed between stream types. Forest streams were characterized by species-rich, diverse communities composed primarily of collector-gatherers and collector-filterers belonging to the orders Trichoptera, Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, and Diptera. In contrast, relatively depauperate agriculture stream communities were dominated by generalist collector-gatherer taxa mostly belonging to the order Ephemeroptera. Agriculture streams had 0-14% canopy cover, significantly higher mean and maximum water temperatures, and significantly lower benthic organic matter storage than forest streams (71-83% canopy cover). We found no evidence for higher sedimentation rates or nutrient concentrations in agriculture streams. Differences in thermal regime may be important in the declines of certain taxa in agriculture streams (e.g., Plecoptera). However, our data support the hypothesis that differences in stream communities are caused mainly by differences among taxa in ability to track shifts in basal resources (i.e., terrestrial detritus vs. in situ algal production) caused by deforestation. Community simplification and loss of endemic spe- cialist taxa will continue if projections of future deforestation are proved correct. We recommend that stream biodiversity be considered in future conservation planning and propose the creation and maintenance of multiuse riparian forests that could serve both ecological and economic functions. Given that more than 5 x 105 km of stream and river channel are affected by tropical deforestation annually, our results have potential applications in other tropical regions.
Keywords benthic communities
freshwater biodiversity
riparian zones
river conservation
tropical streams
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