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Universität Würzburg (2014)

Termites and ants in Burkina Faso (West Africa) : taxonomic and functional diversity along land-use gradients ; ecosystem services of termites in the traditional Zaï system

Dorkas Kaiser

Titre : Termites and ants in Burkina Faso (West Africa) : taxonomic and functional diversity along land-use gradients ; ecosystem services of termites in the traditional Zaï system

Auteur : Dorkas Kaiser

Université de soutenance : Universität Würzburg,

Grade : Doctoral Thesis 2014

Résumé
The consequences of habitat change for human well-being are assumed to be especially extreme in Burkina Faso. The country is located in a highly drought-sensitive zone of West Africa, and small‐scale subsistence farmers may be especially affected if losses of biodiversity lead to changes in ecosystem functioning ; many depend on more or less degraded lands for agricultural production. The overall aim of the present thesis consequently was to characterize the functional traits of soil-organisms which are crucial for a productive and balanced soil environment in the study region – termites and ants. They are true ecosystem engineers whose activity alters the habitat. Through soil-turnover in the course of constructing biogenic structures of varying size and nature (mounds, nests, galleries, soil-sheetings, foraging-holes), they bioturbate huge amounts of soil masses and exert massive effects on soil structure, positively influencing the fertility, stability, aeration and water infiltration rate into soils ; and they provide habitats for other species. In sub-Saharan Africa, ants and termites are the only active soil macrofauna during the long dry season ; in the sub-Sahel zone of Burkina Faso, termites even represent the only active, quantitatively remarkable decomposers all year round. Since no information was available about the actual diversity of the focal arthropods, I divided the thesis in two main parts : In the first part, a baseline study, I assessed the local termite and ant fauna, and investigated their quantitative and qualitative response to changing habitat parameters resulting from increasing human impact (‘functional response traits’). In the second and applied part, I addressed the impact of the biogenic structures which are important for the restoration of degraded soils (‘functional effect traits’).

Mots clés  : Ameisen ; Biodiversität ; Termiten ; menschlicher Einfluss — ants ; diversity ; human impact ; termites

Présentation

Version intégrale part 1

Page publiée le 30 décembre 2015, mise à jour le 5 janvier 2019