Philipp Mollik


Richness and structure of understory bird communities in oil palm plantations in the Pacific lowlands of Costa Rica

Vogel MollikMollik Wald

Oil palm plantations are representing a major threat for tropical biodiversity as they are responsible for a great amount of forest loss. The rising demand of palm oil and its derivates since the 1960´s led to an ongoing threat for tropical ecosystems. Since research on biodiversity in oil palm plantations was mostly done in South-East-Asia, this study provides first insights of the situation of bird’s biodiversity in the Neotropics. Mist-nets were used to catch understory forest birds in three different habitats (forest interior, forest margin, oil palm plantations), in order to identify and ring them afterwards. Our study supports related studies from Asia, where plantations gather less species. Forest specialists, insectivores, and range-restricted species are suffering more than species with a wide range. However, granivorous birds were found more often in plantations, as well as openland species. We found, that plantations are characterized by a distinct species composition and bird communities in forests and oil palms are very different. Since correlations between species richness and density of trees as well as density of woody plants were found, enhancing vegetation complexity within plantations might be a contribution of conservation.