Effects of habitat simplification on assemblages of cavity nesting bees and wasps in a semiarid neotropical conservation area
In many temperate terrestrial forest ecosystems, both natural human disturbances drive the reestablishment of forests. Succession in plant communities, in addition to reforestation following the creation of open sites through harvesting or natural disturbances, can affect forest faunal assemblages. Wild bees perform an important ecosystem function in human-altered and natural or seminatural ecosystems, as they are essential pollinators for both crops and wild flowering plants. To maintain high abundance and species richness for pollination services, it is important to conserve and create seminatural and natural land cover with optimal successional stages for wild bees. We examined the effects of forest succession on wild bees. In particular, we evaluated the importance of early successional stages for bees, which has been suspected but not previously demonstrated. A range of successional stages, between 1 and 178 years old, were examined in naturally regenerated and planted forests. In total 4465 wild bee individuals, representing 113 species, were captured. Results for total bees, solitary bees, and cleptoparasitic bees in both naturally regenerated and planted conifer forests indicated a higher abundance and species richness in the early successional stages. However, higher abundance and species richness of social bees in naturally regenerated forest were observed as the successional stages progressed, whereas the abundance of social bees in conifer planted forest showed a concave-shaped relationship when plotted. The results suggest that early successional stages of both naturally regenerated and conifer planted forest maintain a high abundance and species richness of solitary bees and their cleptoparasitic bees, although social bees respond differently in the early successional stages. This may imply that, in some cases, active forest stand management policies, such as the clear-cutting of planted forests for timber production, would create early successional habitats, leading to significant positive effects for bees in general.