Bird and bat predation services in tropical forests and agroforestry landscapes

Bea Maas, Daniel S. Karp, Sara Bumrungsri, Kevin Darras, David Gonthier, Joe C.C. Huang, Catherine A. Lindell, Josiah J. Maine, Laia Mestre, Nicole L. Michel, Emily B. Morrison, Ivette Perfecto, Stacy M. Philpott, Çagan H. Şekercioğlu, Roberta M. Silva, Peter J. Taylor, Teja Tscharntke, Sunshine A. Van Bael, Christopher J. Whelan, Kimberly Williams-Guillén

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

186 Scopus citations

Abstract

Understanding distribution patterns and multitrophic interactions is critical for managing bat- and bird-mediated ecosystem services such as the suppression of pest and non-pest arthropods. Despite the ecological and economic importance of bats and birds in tropical forests, agroforestry systems, and agricultural systems mixed with natural forest, a systematic review of their impact is still missing. A growing number of bird and bat exclosure experiments has improved our knowledge allowing new conclusions regarding their roles in food webs and associated ecosystem services. Here, we review the distribution patterns of insectivorous birds and bats, their local and landscape drivers, and their effects on trophic cascades in tropical ecosystems. We report that for birds but not bats community composition and relative importance of functional groups changes conspicuously from forests to habitats including both agricultural areas and forests, here termed ‘forest-agri’ habitats, with reduced representation of insectivores in the latter. In contrast to previous theory regarding trophic cascade strength, we find that birds and bats reduce the density and biomass of arthropods in the tropics with effect sizes similar to those in temperate and boreal communities. The relative importance of birds versus bats in regulating pest abundances varies with season, geography and management. Birds and bats may even suppress tropical arthropod outbreaks, although positive effects on plant growth are not always reported. As both bats and birds are major agents of pest suppression, a better understanding of the local and landscape factors driving the variability of their impact is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1081-1101
Number of pages21
JournalBiological Reviews
Volume91
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Cambridge Philosophical Society

Keywords

  • agricultural landscapes
  • arthropod suppression
  • bird and bat ecology
  • cacao
  • coffee
  • ecosystem services
  • exclosure experiments
  • flying vertebrates
  • food webs
  • pest suppression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Bird and bat predation services in tropical forests and agroforestry landscapes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this