Success or failure: the role of ecological restoration on the recovery of dung beetle diversity and function in a tropical rainforest

Daniel González-Tokman, Carlos Cultid-Medina, Alfonso Díaz, Federico Escobar, Lenin Ocampo-Palacio, Cristina Martínez-Garza


Recent studies have shown that ecological restoration hardly recovers diversity and ecosystem function of important bioindicator groups such as dung beetles, which have key functional roles in natural and managed ecosystems. Here, we evaluated dung beetle diversity and ecological function in a restored area in a tropical rainforest landscape that
comprises 10-year old cattle exclusions that include plantings of local trees and unplanted exclusions that resemble natural succession. As control habitats, we used neighbor pastures and sites in the nearest conserved forest. We found that the restored area did not improve dung beetle abundance and diversity compared to the forest, and did not differ
from pastures. On the other hand, dung removal, a key ecosystem function, was similar in the forest and the restored area, but was not carried out by dung beetles in the restored area. Our study supports previous evidence showing that restoration efforts are hardly helping to recover dung beetle diversity despite they can eventually favor the recovery of function. Our results highlight the importance of considering landscape context in restoration programs, including alternative conservation strategies, such as maintenance of forest patches and restoration of connectivity between fragments to maintain dung beetle diversity and function.

Palabras clave

Conservation; Ecosystem services; Insects; Restoration plantings; Scarabaeinae

Texto completo:



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Revista Mexicana de Biodiversidad, Año 3, No. 12, enero-marzo 2014, es una publicación trimestral editada por la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad Universitaria, Delegación Coyoacán, C.P. 04510, Ciudad de México, a través del Instituto de Biología, Tercer Circuito Universitario s/n, Ciudad Universitaria, Col. Copilco, Del. Coyoacán, C.P. 04510, Ciudad de México, Tel. (55)56229164,, responsable: Dr. Fernando Álvarez Noguera. Reserva de Derechos al uso Exclusivo No. 04-2013-092709142100-203, ISSN: 2007-8706, ambos otorgados por el Instituto Nacional del Derecho de Autor, Responsable de la última actualización de este número, Instituto de Biología, UNAM, Dr. Fernando Álvarez Noguera, Tercer Circuito Universitario s/n, Ciudad Universitaria, Col. Copilco, Del. Coyoacán, C.P. 04510, Ciudad de México, fecha de la última modificación: 25 de agosto de 2016.

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