Deforestation and apparent extinctions of endemic forest beetles in Madagascar

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2007
Authors:I. Hanski, Koivulehto, H., Cameron, A., Rahagalala, P.
Journal:Biology Letters
Date Published:Mar
Keywords:dung beetle, forest loss, Helictopleurini, Madagascar, tropical extinctions

Madagascar has lost about half of its forest cover since 1953 with much regional variation, for instance most of the coastal lowland forests have been cleared. We sampled the endemic forest- dwelling Helictopleurini dung beetles across Madagascar during 2002–2006. Our samples include 29 of the 51 previously known species for which locality information is available. The most significant factor explaining apparent extinctions (species not collected by us) is forest loss within the historical range of the focal species, suggesting that deforestation has already caused the extinction, or effective extinction, of a large number of insect species with small geographical ranges, typical for many endemic taxa in Madagascar. Cur rently, roughly 10% of the original forest cover remains. Species– area considerations suggest that this will allow roughly half of the species to persist. Our results are consistent with this prediction.

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