Using plant-animal interactions to inform tree selection in tree-based agroecosystems for enhanced biodiversity

Valerie E. Peters, Tomás A. Carlo, Marco A.R. Mello, Robert A. Rice, Doug W. Tallamy, S. Amanda Caudill, Theodore H. Fleming

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Neotropical region harbors the world's most diverse terrestrial plant communities. A key component of this diversity is a range of plant-animal interactions involving frugivory, nectarivory, and insectivory. Millions of Neotropical hectares subjected to human land-use systems contain trees that are either planted by land managers or retained from the pre-existing forests. Biodiversity-conservation approaches in these systems are often ineffective because of the unfounded assumption that all plants provide equal benefits for consumers. We propose criteria for tree-species selection based on plant-animal interaction research that could guide decisionmakers. We show that tree-species identity is key for enhancing biodiversity and recommend that selection be guided by the structure of plant-animal interaction networks. We also recommend that selection practices consider the timing of resource production, because the year-round availability of food resources in the Neotropics plays an important role in the adaptive radiation of nectar- and fruit-eating vertebrates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1046-1056
Number of pages11
JournalBioScience
Volume66
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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    Peters, V. E., Carlo, T. A., Mello, M. A. R., Rice, R. A., Tallamy, D. W., Caudill, S. A., & Fleming, T. H. (2016). Using plant-animal interactions to inform tree selection in tree-based agroecosystems for enhanced biodiversity. BioScience, 66(12), 1046-1056. https://doi.org/10.1093/biosci/biw140