Pineda, E., C.E. Moreno, F. Escobar and G. Halffter. 2005. Frog, bat and dung beetle diversity in the cloud forest and coffee agroecosystems of Veracruz, México. Conservation Biology 19(2):400-410. ON LINE ISSN: 1523-1739
We compared the species diversity of copronecrophagous beetles (Scarabaeinae), bats, and frogs in tropical montane cloud forest (original vegetation) and shaded coffee plantations (an agroecosystem common to the region) for a landscape in central Veracruz, Mexico. We sampled in three tropical montane cloud forest fragments and in three coffee plantations with traditional polyculture shade between 1998 and 2001. The three indicator groups responded differently to the transformation of tropical montane cloud forest into shaded coffee plantations. The species richness of frogs was one-fifth less in coffee plantations than in forest fragments, and only one-third of the frog species occurred in both forest fragments and coffee plantations. The number of beetle species and their abundance was significantly greater in coffee plantations than in the forest fragments, whereas species richness and species composition of bats were virtually the same in both habitats. The majority of the abundant species remained as such in both communities, but species that were less abundant were not scarce in both habitats. We attributed differences in the species assemblages to the differing degrees of penetrability of the borders of the two habitat types (especially for the coffee plantations) and to the differences in life-history traits among species. Shaded coffee plantations form a matrix that envelops the remaining fragments of cloud forest. Together they connect the forest fragments with the other habitats of the landscape and represent a highly functional resource for the preservation of biodiversity that serves as a complement to but not a substitute for cloud forest in this notably modified landscape.