Journal of Insect Conservation

, Volume 19, Issue 6, pp 1129–1139 | Cite as

Termite diversity and complexity in Vietnamese agroecosystems along a gradient of increasing disturbance

  • Kok-Boon Neoh
  • Lee-Jin Bong
  • My Thi Nguyen
  • Vuong Tan Nguyen
  • Huy Quoc Nguyen
  • Masayuki Itoh
  • Osamu Kozan
  • Tsuyoshi Yoshimura


The rapid development of the Vietnamese coffee industry caused widespread deforestation, land degradation, desertification, and soil and water degradation in the late 1990s. However, little is known about the impact of intensification of coffee farming on arthropod diversity in Vietnamese coffee agroecosystems. We conducted an in-depth study of the termite presence in five land-uses along a gradient of increased land-use intensity in the Central Highlands of Vietnam: mixed deciduous forest (MF), secondary forest (SF), planted pine forest (PF), rubber plantation (RP), and coffee plantations (CP). The estimated number of termite species decreased along the land-use gradient. In coffee agroecosystems, the termite species richness was 20–50 % lower than that of the forested areas and monoculture rubber plantation. In terms of beta diversity, the termite faunal composition in CP was significantly separated from those of the other land-uses, in which the similarity was only 28.67 %. Litter depth, canopy cover, and wood basal area were positively associated with the termite communities present in MF and SF, whereas the termite community in PF was positively associated with soil bulk density, leaf litter, and understory vegetation. The ecological characteristics in RP and CP appeared to be negatively associated with wood basal area, leaf litter, and understory vegetation where well represented by Ancistrotermes pakistanicus (Ahmad). The sites also supported a few soil-feeding termites [e.g., Dicuspiditermes garthwaitei (Gardner), Pericapritermes latignathus (Holmgren), and Pseudocapritermes sinensis Ping and Xu in RP; only D. garthwaitei in CP].


Macrotermitinae Vegetation cover Agricultural intensification Ecosystem services Biodiversity conservation Soil-feeding termite 



We would like to thank Yoko Takematsu (Yamaguchi University) for assistance in identifying termite specimens and three anonymous reviewers whose comments greatly improved the manuscript. This study was supported by the Large-Scale Research Program ‘Promoting the Study of Sustainable Humanosphere in Southeast Asia’ funded by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT), 2011–2016. K.-B.N. was an international research fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and L.-J.B. was a mission researcher of the Research Institute for Sustainable Humonosphere, Kyoto University.


  1. Ahmad M (1965) Termites (Isoptera) of Thailand. Bull Am Mus Nat His 131:1–114Google Scholar
  2. Anon (1998) The investment project to expand the Yokdon National Park. Forest Inventory and Planning Institute, HanoiGoogle Scholar
  3. Armbrecht I, Rivera L, Perfecto I (2005) Reduced diversity and complexity in the leaf-litter ant assemblage of Colombian coffee plantations. Conserv Biol 19:897–907CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Beaudrot L, Du Y, Rahman Kassim A, Rejmánek M, Harrison RD (2011) Do epigeal termite mounds increase the diversity of plant habitats in a tropical rain forest in Peninsular Malaysia? PLoS One 6(5):e19777. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0019777 PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Brickle NW (2002) Habitat use, predicted distribution and conservation of green peafowl (Pavo muticus) in Dak Lak Province, Vietnam. Biol Conserv 105:189–197CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Briggs HM, Perfecto I, Brosi BJ (2013) The role of the agricultural matrix: coffee management and euglossine bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Euglossini) communities in Southern Mexico. Environ Entomol 42:1210–1217CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Bryan J, Shearman P, Asner G, Knapp D, Aoro G, Lokes B (2013) Extreme differences in forest degradation in borneo: comparing practices in Sarawak, Sabah, and Brunei. PLoS One 8(7):e69679. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0069679 PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Burnham KP, Overton WS (1979) Robust estimation of population size when capture probabilities vary among animals. Ecology 60:927–936CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chao A (1987) Estimating the population size for capture-recapture data with unequal catchability. Biometrics 43:783–791CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Chao A, Hwang WH, Chen YC, Kuo CY (2000) Estimating the number of shared species in two communities. Stat Sin 10:227–246Google Scholar
  11. Colwell RK (2005) EstimateS: Statistical estimation of species richness and shared species from samples Version 8.2. User’s Guide and application published at:
  12. Dak Lak Statistical Department (2002) Statistical yearbook 2001. Dak Lak Statistical Department, Buon Ma ThuotGoogle Scholar
  13. Davies RG, Eggleton P, Dibog L, Lawton JH, Bignell DE, Brauman A, Hartmann C, Nunes L, Holt J, Rouland C (1999) Successional response of a tropical forest termite assemblage to experimental habitat perturbation. J Appl Ecol 36:946–962CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. D’haeze D, Raes D, Deckers J, Phong TA, Loi HV (2005a) Groundwater extraction for irrigation of Coffea canephora in Ea Tul watershed, Vietnam—a risk evaluation. Agric Water Manag 73:1–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. D’haeze D, Deckers J, Raes D, Phong TA, Loi HV (2005b) Environmental and socio-economic impacts of institutional reforms on the agricultural sector of Vietnam: land suitability assessment for Robusta coffee in the Dak Gan region. Agric Ecosyst Environ 105:59–76CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dibog L, Eggleton P, Norgrove L, Bignell DE, Hauser S (1999) Impacts of canopy cover on soil termite assemblages in an agrisilvicultural system in southern Cameroon. Bull Entomol Res 89:125–132Google Scholar
  17. Donovan SE, Eggleton P, Bignell DE (2001a) Gut content analysis and a new feeding group classification of termites. Ecol Entomol 26:356–366CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Donovan SE, Eggleton P, Dubbin WE, Batchelder M, Dibog L (2001b) The effect of a soil-feeding termite, Cubitermes fungifaber (Isoptera: Termitidae) on soil properties: termites may be an important source of soil microhabitat heterogeneity in tropical forests. Pedobiologia 45:1–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Eggleton P, Bignell DE, Sands WA, Waite B, Wood TG, Lawton JH (1995) The species richness of termites (Isoptera) under differing levels of forest disturbance in the Mbalmayo Forest Reserve, southern Cameroon. J Trop Ecol 11:85–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Eggleton P, Bignell DE, Sands WA, Mawdsley NA, Lawton JH, Wood TG, Bignell NC (1996) The diversity, abundance and biomass of termites under differing levels of disturbance in the Mbalmayo Forest Reserve, Southern Cameroon. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 351:51–68CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Eggleton P, Davies RG, Bignell DE (1998) Body size and energy use in termites (Isoptera): the responses of soil feeders and wood feeders differ in a tropical forest assemblage. Oikos 81:525–530CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Eggleton P, Bignell DE, Hauser S, Dibog L, Norgrove L, Madong B (2002) Termite diversity across an anthropogenic disturbance gradient in the humid forest zone of West Africa. Agric Ecosyst Environ 90:189–202CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Evans TA, Dawes TZ, Ward PR, Lo N (2011) Ants and termites increase crop yield in a dry climate. Nat Commun 2:262. doi: 10.1038/ncomms1257 PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. FAOSTAT (2014) Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).
  25. Gordon CE, McGill B, Ibarra-Núñez G, Greenberg R, Perfecto I (2009) Simplification of a coffee foliage-dwelling beetle community under low-shade management. Basic Appl Ecol 10:246–254CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hairiah K, Sulistyani H, Suprayogo D, Widianto Purnomosidhi P, Widodo RH, Noordwijk MV (2006) Litter layer residence time in forest and coffee agroforestry systems in Sumberjaya, West Lampung. Forest Ecol Manag 224:45–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Holt JA, Lepage M (2000) Termites and soil properties. In: Abe T, Bignell DE, Higashi M (eds) Termites: evolution, sociality, symbioses, ecology. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, pp 389–407CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Jones DT, Eggleton P (2000) Sampling termite assemblages in tropical forests: testing a rapid biodiversity assessment protocol. J Appl Ecol 37:191–203CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Jones DT, Susilo FX, Bignell DE, Hardiwinoto S, Gillison AN, Eggleton P (2003) Termite assemblage collapse along a land-use intensification gradient in lowland central Sumatra, Indonesia. J Appl Ecol 40:380–391CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kon TW, Bong CFJ, King JHP, Leong CTS (2012) Biodiversity of termite (Insecta: Isoptera) in tropical peat land cultivated with oil palms. Pak J Biol Sci 15:108–120CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Lepage M, Abbadie L, Mariotti A (1993) Food habits of sympatric termite species (Isoptera, Macrotermitinae) as determined by stable carbon isotope analysis in a Guinean savanna (Lamto, Cote d’Ivoire). J Trop Ecol 9:303–311CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Luke SH, Fayle TM, Eggleton P, Turner EC, Davies RG (2014) Functional structure of ant and termite assemblages in old growth forest, logged forest and oil palm plantation in Malaysian Borneo. Biodivers Conserv 23:2817–2832CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Marín L, Perfecto I (2013) Spider diversity in coffee agroecosystems: the influence of agricultural intensification and aggressive ants. Environ Entomol 42:204–213CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Müller D (2003) Land-use change in the central highlands of Vietnam—a spatial econometric model combining satellite imagery and village survey data, Fakultät f¨ur Agrarwissenschaften. Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, GöttingenGoogle Scholar
  35. Muriel SB, Kattan GH (2009) Effects of patch size and type of coffee matrix on thomiine butterfly diversity and dispersal in cloud-forest fragments. Conserv Biol 23:948–956CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Nguyen MH (2009) The status of vulnerable gaur Bos gaurus and endangered banteng Bos javanicus in Ea So Nature Reserve and Yok Don and Cat Tien National Parks, Vietnam. Oryx 43:129–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Nguyen DK, Nguyen TV, Trinh VH, Nguyen VQ, Le VT, Nguyen TH, Vu VN, Ngo TS, Vo TH (2007) Fauna of Vietnam. Isoptera: Termites, vol 15. Science and Technology Publishing House, Hanoi (in Vietnamese) Google Scholar
  38. Okwakol MJN (2000) Changes in termite (Isoptera) communities due to the clearance and cultivation of tropical forest in Uganda. Afr J Ecol 38:1–7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Philpott SM, Perfecto I, Vandermeer J (2006) Effects of management intensity and season on arboreal ant diversity and abundance in coffee agroecosystems. Biodivers Conserv 15:139–155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Philpott SM, Bichier P, Rice RA, Greenberg R (2008a) Biodiversity conservation, yield, and alternative products in coffee agroecosystems in Sumatra, Indonesia. Biodivers Conserv 17:1805–1820CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Philpott SM, Arendt WJ, Armbrecht I, Bichier P, Diestch TV, Gordon C, Greenberg R, Perfecto I, Reynoso-Santos R, Soto-Pinto L, Tejeda-Cruz C, Williams-Linera G, Valenzuela J, Zolotoff JM (2008b) Biodiversity loss in Latin American coffee landscapes: review of the evidence on ants, birds, and trees. Conserv Biol 22:1093–1105CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Ponte S (2004) Standards and sustainability in the coffee sector. The International Institute for Sustainable Development, MinatobaGoogle Scholar
  43. Rouland C, Lenoir F, Lepage M (1991) The role of the symbiotic fungus in the digestive metabolism of several species of fungus-growing termites. Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol 99:657–663CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Sodhi NS, Koh LP, Brook BW, Ng PKL (2004) Southeast Asian biodiversity: an impending disaster. Trends Ecol Evol 19:654–660CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Sodhi NS, Posa MRC, Lee TM, Bickford D, Koh LP, Brook BW (2010) The state and conservation of Southeast Asian biodiversity. Biodivers Conserv 19:317–328CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Takematsu Y, Vongkaluang C (2012) A taxonomic review of the Rhinotermitidae (Isoptera) of Thailand. J Nat Hist 46:1079–1109CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Teodoro AV, Sousa-Souto L, Klein AM, Tscharntke T (2010) Seasonal contrasts in the response of coffee ants to agroforestry shade-tree management. Environ Entomol 39:1744–1750CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. ter Braak CJF, Šmilauer P (2012) Canoco reference manual and user’s guide: software for ordination (version 5.0). Microcomputer Power (Ithaca, NY, USA), 496 ppGoogle Scholar
  49. Umeh VC, Ivbijaro MF (1997) Termite abundance and damage in traditional maize–cassava intercrops in southwestern Nigeria. Insect Sci Appl 17:315–321Google Scholar
  50. Urrutia-Escobar MX, Armbrecht I (2013) Effect of two agroecological management strategies on ant (hymenoptera: Formicidae) diversity on coffee plantations in southwestern Colombia. Environ Entomol 42:194–203CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  51. Vaessen T, Verwer C, Demies M, Kaliang H, van der Meer PJ (2011) Comparison of termite assemblages along a landuse gradient on peat areas in Sarawak, Malaysia. J Trop Forest Sci 23:196–203Google Scholar
  52. Vuong NT, Huy NQ, Hien NT, Thanh TV (2012) Harmful effect of termite on coffee tree in Central Highlands. In: Proceedings of the 9th Pacific-Rim Termite Research Group Conference 27–28 February 2012. Science and Technics Publishing House, Hanoi, VietnamGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EntomologyNational Chung Hsing UniversityTaichungTaiwan
  2. 2.Laboratory of Innovative Humano-habitability, Research Institute for Sustainable HumanosphereKyoto UniversityGokasho, Uji, KyotoJapan
  3. 3.Institute of Ecology and Works ProtectionChua Boc, Dong Da District, HanoiVietnam
  4. 4.Center for Southeast Asian StudiesKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan

Personalised recommendations