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Large-scale assessment of ecological and anthropogenic drivers of beetle communities in Laos shows that conversion of natural forests into plantations leads to a decline in abundance
  • Bounsanong Chouangthavy,
  • Yoan Fourcade
Bounsanong Chouangthavy
National University of Laos Faculty of Agriculture

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Yoan Fourcade
Univ. Paris Est Creteil, Sorbonne Université, Univ Paris Cité, CNRS, IRD, INRAE, Institut d’écologie et des sciences de l’environnement, IEES, F-94010 Créteil, France
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Rapid economic development can pose a threat to the biodiversity of tropical countries. In Laos, this is manifested by the conversion of natural forests into plantations, even though this area is one of the biodiversity hotspots of Southeast Asia. Beetle communities can be good indicators of the impact of anthropogenic pressure on natural ecosystems. In this study, we analyzed for the first time a countrywide inventory of Coleoptera to assess the ecological and anthropogenic drivers of beetle communities in Laos. We examined beetle communities (described at the family level) across the country, located in distinct habitat types, in order to understand the impact a rapid increase in human activities has on the region’s biodiversity. We found that beetle abundance had declined in plantations compared to natural forests. At the same time, we observed fewer beetle families in plantations overall, but at the scale of sampling sites there was no difference in local diversity compared to natural forests, suggesting a homogenization of beetle communities in anthropogenic habitats. Although results are certainly sensitive to our coarse classification of beetle specimens into families, the negative impact of the conversion of natural tropical forests into agriculture area can still be clearly demonstrated. Our findings highlight that it is possible to make use of unstructured large-scale inventories to explore how beetle communities responds to landscape changes induced by human activities. We suggest that sampling beetle communities can be used as an ecological indicator to monitor anthropogenic impacts on tropical ecosystems.
02 Mar 2023Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
02 Mar 2023Submission Checks Completed
02 Mar 2023Assigned to Editor
21 Mar 2023Reviewer(s) Assigned
21 Apr 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
24 Apr 2023Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
09 Jun 20231st Revision Received
09 Jun 2023Assigned to Editor
09 Jun 2023Submission Checks Completed
09 Jun 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
12 Jun 2023Reviewer(s) Assigned
16 Jun 2023Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
17 Jun 20232nd Revision Received
19 Jun 2023Assigned to Editor
19 Jun 2023Submission Checks Completed
19 Jun 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
19 Jun 2023Editorial Decision: Accept