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Type: Journal article
Title: Birds defend oil palms from herbivorous insects
Author: Koh, L.
Citation: Ecological Applications, 2008; 18(4):821-825
Publisher: Ecological Society of America
Issue Date: 2008
ISSN: 1051-0761
Statement of
Lian Pin Koh
Abstract: Top-down forces are expected to be important in regulating herbivore populations in most agricultural systems where primary productivity is high and species diversity is low. Under such conditions, trophic cascades are predicted to occur when predator populations are reduced or removed. Studies on how predator removal indirectly affects herbivory rates in agricultural systems are lacking. Through a bird-exclosure experiment, I test the hypothesis that insectivorous birds indirectly defend oil palms (Elaeis guineensis) from herbivorous insects. Results show that bird exclusion significantly increased herbivory damage to oil palms, and that the size of this exclusion effect increased with bird density, although the latter result was not statistically significant. These findings suggest that insectivorous birds deliver a natural pest control service for oil palm agriculture, which is important not only for the direct benefits it delivers for human welfare, but also in strengthening the economic justifications for conserving the remaining natural habitats and biodiversity in agricultural landscapes.
Keywords: agriculture; biodiversity hotspots; conservation; ecosystem services; natural capital; reconciliation ecology; restoration ecology
Rights: ©2008 by the Ecological Society of America
DOI: 10.1890/07-1650.1
Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest 2
Ecology, Evolution and Landscape Science publications

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