Local and landscape drivers of arthropod diversity and decomposition processes in oil palm leaf axils

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Oil palm expansion results in a loss of biodiversity and associated ecosystem services. However, there are factors that influence the severity of these impacts and enhancing biodiversity within plantations is important. In the present study, we examined the role of epiphytes for supporting arthropod communities in oil palm plantations in Sumatra, Indonesia. We considered the effects of landscape context and local characteristics (epiphyte cover, herbicide use and local microclimate) on arthropod communities and litter decomposition in oil palm leaf axils. We surveyed arthropods and measured decomposition rates at two different heights on 80 oil palms located at the centre and edge of eight plantations. We found that oil palms at the edge of plantations hosted a higher abundance and more arthropod taxa than oil palms in the centre of plantations. Moreover, organic matter mass and height of the leaf axil were important for arthropod communities, and the decomposition rate was negatively related to ant abundance. However, epiphyte cover did not influence arthropod communities. The results of the present study show that leaf axils with more organic matter and at a higher location on the oil palm promote arthropod biodiversity. Furthermore, oil palm plantations adjacent to different land-use systems have enhanced biodiversity.


  • Dominik Ganser
  • Lisa H. Denmead
  • Yann Clough
  • Damayanti Buchori
  • Teja Tscharntke
External organisations
  • University of Göttingen
  • Bogor Agricultural University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Ecology


  • Ecosystem services, epiphytes, Formicidae, landscape context, landscape heterogeneity, management, microclimate
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-69
Number of pages10
JournalAgricultural and Forest Entomology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Feb 1
Publication categoryResearch