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Title: Factors influencing biodiversity, ecosystem functioning and ecosystem services in oil palm landscapes
Author: Ashton-Butt, Adham John
ISNI:       0000 0004 7967 0495
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2018
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In the face of huge biodiversity loss due to agriculture and associated loss of ecosystem function, it is imperative to elucidate factors that contribute to or alleviate this problem, in order to improve management of agricultural landscapes. My meta-analysis, along with a large body of previous research has identified the impact that forest conversion to oil palm plantations can have on biodiversity and ecosystem function. In this thesis, I identify factors which influence biodiversity and ecosystem functioning within oil palm dominated landscapes, both positively and negatively. I first explore the conservation value of oil palm landscapes to forest and generalist birds and assess associated ecosystem services provided by them. I sample bird species richness, abundance and diet using traditional bird sampling methods and next-generation sequencing techniques (Chapter 2). Then, I determine how large-scale replanting of oil palm may affect agricultural sustainability and biodiversity by sampling indicators of soil quality and soil macrofauna communities along an oil palm replanting chronosequence. I use structural equation modelling to explore drivers of soil degradation (Chapter 3) and mixed models and multivariate community composition analysis to evaluate biodiversity change (Chapter 4) after replanting. Finally, I explore how within-plantation soil biodiversity and ecosystem functioning can be improved, by examining the effect of enhancing understory vegetation complexity (Chapter 5). This body of work can inform wildlife conservation practices and sustainable management practices in landscapes containing oil palm.
Supervisor: Peh, Kelvin Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available