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Replanting reduces frog diversity in oil palm

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Kurz, DJ 
Turner, EC 
Aryawan, AA 
Barkley, HC 
Caliman, JP 


jats:titleAbstract</jats:title>jats:pA growing body of literature has demonstrated significant biodiversity losses for many taxa when forest is converted to oil palm. However, no studies have directly investigated changes to biodiversity throughout the oil palm life cycle, in which oil palm matures for 25–30 yr before replanting. This process leads to major changes in the oil palm landscape that likely influence species assemblages and ecosystem function. We compare frog assemblages between mature (21–27‐yr old) and recently replanted (1–2‐yr old) oil palm in Sumatra, Indonesia. Across eighteen 2.25‐ha oil palm plots, we found 719 frogs from 14 species. Frog richness was 31 percent lower in replanted oil palm (nine species) than mature oil palm (13 species). Total frog abundance was 47 percent lower in replanted oil palm, and frog assemblage composition differed significantly between the two ages of oil palm. The majority of frog species were disturbance‐tolerant, although we encountered four forest‐associated frog species within mature oil palm despite a distance of 28 km between our study sites and the nearest extensive tract of forest. Although it is clear that protection of forest is of paramount importance for the conservation of tropical fauna, our results indicate that management decisions within tropical agricultural landscapes also have a profound impact on biodiversity. Practices such as staggered replanting or maintenance of connectivity among mature oil palm patches could help maintain frog diversity in the oil palm landscape.</jats:p>



alpha diversity, amphibian, biodiversity loss, plantation management, Southeast Asia, Sumatra, tropical agriculture, working landscapes

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The Isaac Newton Trust and Sinar Mas Agro Resources and Technology funded both the fieldwork and the BEFTA Project.