Are we using the most appropriate methodologies to assess the sensitivity of rainforest biodiversity to habitat disturbance?

Whitworth, A., Pillco Huarcaya, R., Whittaker, L. and Braunholtz, L. (2018) Are we using the most appropriate methodologies to assess the sensitivity of rainforest biodiversity to habitat disturbance? Tropical Conservation Science, 11, (doi: 10.1177/1940082918788445)

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Accurately assessing how biodiversity responds in the Anthropocene is vital. To do so, a number of indicator taxa are commonly used to monitor human-impacted forests and the subsequent recovery of their biodiversity. This makes monitoring more economically feasible, yet only valuable if the responses observed truly reflect the status of biodiversity. Many challenges exist for getting this monitoring right, including choosing the most effective indicators and ultimately choosing the most appropriate methods to capture trends. We have reason to believe that the methods currently used to assess humanimpacted tropical forest might be misrepresenting trends related to the degree of impact of disturbance to biodiversity and to the value of secondary forests for biodiversity conservation. Using recent case studies that assessed butterflies, we challenge the paradigm that fruit-baited butterfly traps are the best method for assessing human-impacted tropical forests, and that their use solely along the forest floor is underestimating the impacts to biodiversity in tropical forests. We suggest that alternative or additional methods could provide a more representative picture of the overall butterfly biodiversity responses to human-impacted tropical forests and that similar assessments of other groups and methods should be carried out.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Whitworth, Dr Andrew
Authors: Whitworth, A., Pillco Huarcaya, R., Whittaker, L., and Braunholtz, L.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Tropical Conservation Science
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN (Online):1940-0829
Published Online:17 July 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 The Authors
First Published:First published in Tropical Conservation Science 11
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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