Impact of land use on assemblages of carabid beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) in Zambia
My dissertation supports the observation that land use change is an important form of global pressure affecting biodiversity. Certainly, this dissertation provides answers only to some questions that rise in the context of human forest modification and many more questions still remain to be investig...
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|Summary:||My dissertation supports the observation that land use change is an important form of global pressure affecting biodiversity. Certainly, this dissertation provides answers only to some questions that rise in the context of human forest modification and many more questions still remain to be investigated further regarding the effects of anthropogenic impact on biodiversity.
Introduction of non-native plantations is usually regarded as a surrogate for
afforestation in Zambia but when this practice is done to replace native forests
could lead to biodiversity loss. In fact, it has been established elsewhere that
biodiversity is enhanced when plantations are established in previously degraded
lands (Pawson et al. 2008; Brockerhoff et al. 2008). This dissertation revealed that replacing native forests with plantations of non-native trees (pine and eucalyptus) decreases richness and changes assemblages of carabid beetles. In order to fully understand the impact of replacing native forests with non-native plantations, further research is required. For example, investigating genetic diversity within and between species will deepen our understanding of biodiversity loss. In this regard, I will carry out genetic analyses using mitochondria and nuclear DNA of common carabid species in native forests and compare with their genetic diversity in nonnative plantations. Changes in species richness or genetic diversity may have far reaching implications at the ecosystem scale and open further ecological questions
that may relate to functional diversity. I will examine changes in species functional types by assessing those species sharing similar functioning at the organismic level between forest types. In this context, data on richness of various functional groups such as predators, herbivores and detritivores may provide deeper understanding on species responses when native forests are replaced with non-native plantations and may also provide additional insight on the pros and cons of plantations in the biodiversity conservation framework.
My dissertation has further shown that the response of carabid beetles to
pollution is not consistent across species in the natural environment. Due to the fact that there could be many environmental variables affecting responses of animals to pollution, further research is required in order to pinpoint specific factors that may influence this inconsistence in carabid species. I will, therefore, carry out laboratory feeding experiments in which carabid species are fed with food contaminated with different quantities of Cu, Pb or other important heavy metals present in the Zambian environment. After feeding carabid beetles for at least one generation, I will then assess changes in body mass, fecundity and sex ratio of species. This will provide additional answers to questions on how species respond to specific contaminations in Zambia.|