We found that ants and dungs beetles are not moving out of riparian reserves to cross young areas of oil palm. This implies that forest corridors connecting populations may be essential for their survival – this connectivity may be even more important for inverts than for vertebrates due.
In addition, we found little evidence that the ants and dung beetles in riparian reserves are providing nutrient cycling services (dung removal/scavenging) in the young oil palm. However, riparian reserves may still be reservoirs for service providers in older oil palm areas – the fuller canopy and lower temperatures in the older plantations may allow greater invertebrate dispersal.
As large areas of oil palm across Southeast Asia are going to be replanted in the next few years, the limited dispersal of inverts across young oil palm could pose a threat to these populations. Protecting and maintaining forest corridors may help prevent declines of ecologically important invertebrate species.
The full paper is open access (free to all). Read it here.