Dung beetles in a Caatinga Natural Reserve: a threatened Brazilian dry-forest with high biological value

ABSTRACT The Caatinga is an endemic and threatened dry-forest biome distributed across northern Brazil. We evaluated the conservation value of a Caatinga Natural Reserve (NR) - Floresta Nacional (FLONA) Contendas do Sincorá - using Scarabaeinae dung beetles as a biodiversity indicator. Specifically, we contrasted two zones impacted by two distinct intensity of selective logging that happened inside the NR until 1997. Dung beetles were collected 14 years after logging, using baited pitfall traps within three main habitats (riparian forest, regenerating Caatinga or arboreal Caatinga) found in two zones (Preservation and Management Zones). A total of 1,214 individuals from 21 species were sampled. The two zones presented distinct species composition, although the habitats did not exhibit such differences. Our results indicated that the secondary areas are in a conservation status similar to arboreal Caatinga and riparian forest, 14 y after logging. Furthermore, we identified seven habitat-indicator species, two of them typical to Caatinga biome, highlighting the importance of updates in NR management plan considering the Scarabaeinae regional diversity management.