Revista de Biología Tropical ISSN Impreso: 0034-7744 ISSN electrónico: 2215-2075

Gremios y diversidad de hormigas (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) en tres usos del suelo de un paisaje cafetero del Cauca-Colombia. Guilds and diversity of ants in three land uses from a coffee landscape at Cauca -Colombia.
Volumen 66 Número Regular Marzo 2018
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Arenas-Clavijo, A., & Armbrecht, I. (2018). Gremios y diversidad de hormigas (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) en tres usos del suelo de un paisaje cafetero del Cauca-Colombia. Guilds and diversity of ants in three land uses from a coffee landscape at Cauca -Colombia. Revista De Biología Tropical, 66(1), 48–57.


. In
the last 50 years, Colombian coffee production has undergone a great transformation from traditional plantations
grown below the forest’s shade, to vast extensions of coffee plantations consisting of free exposition to sun.
These systems reduce native biodiversity and its associated ecosystem services. Simultaneously, shaded coffee
plantations operate as potential shelter of such biodiversity, favoring its dispersal in the landscape, because they
offer high-quality habitat for the movement of wild organisms through natural vegetation relicts. Therefore, it
is important to document its biological value. In Colombia, Cauca department is the fourth coffee producer and
although its cultures were mainly based on the model of using trees’ shade on coffee shrubs, in last 10 years, sun
coffee plantations have doubled their extension in this department and have almost equated the shaded coffee
extension. Thus, it is necessary to document if these land use changes at landscape scale may derivate in consequences for the wild biota dwelling these productive systems. Given the above considerations, and in order to
test for the biological importance of coffee plantations, the present study compares the effect of three land uses
(sun coffee, shaded coffee and natural vegetation patches; eight of each one) in terms of ants’ species richness
and the abundance of their trophic guilds at Caldono municipality, between August 2015 and January 2016.
Captures were carried out with pitfall traps, mini-Winkler sacs and direct capture. We found that ants’ richness
was higher in natural vegetation patches, followed by shaded coffee plantations and sun coffee plantations, in
these last ones, the omnivore-generalist ants were more abundant, and ground-foraging arboreal ants were less
abundant. We found that shaded coffee plantations, despite belonging to a transformed land use, have greater
similarity with some natural vegetation patches. Using only ants from the lowest stratum (soil and understory),
our findings confirm that shaded coffee plantations maintain an important part of the ant diversity of the locality, while sun coffee plantations offer less habitat quality to it. On the other hand, although natural vegetation
patches are so small and degraded, their conservation represent a valuable heritage for the protection of local
ants’ fauna, harboring a large number of exclusive species.
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