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Hajian-Forooshani Z, Gonthier D, Marín L, Iverson AL, Perfecto I.2013. Arboreal spiders in coffee agroecosystems: Untangling the web of local and landscape influences driving diversity. PeerJ PrePrints1:e151v1https://doi.org/10.7287/peerj.preprints.151v1
Agricultural intensification is implicated as a major driver of global biodiversity loss. Local management and landscape scale factors both influence biodiversity in agricultural systems, but there are relatively few studies to date looking at how local and landscape scales influence biodiversity in tropical agroecosystems. Understanding what drives the diversity of groups of organisms such as spiders is important from a pragmatic point of view because of the important biocontrol services they offer to agriculture. Spiders in coffee are somewhat enigmatic because of their positive or lack of response to agricultural intensification. In this study, we provide the first analysis, to our knowledge, of the arboreal spiders in the shade trees of coffee plantations. In the Soconusco region of Chiapas, Mexico we sampled across 38 sites on 9 coffee plantations. Tree and canopy connectedness were found to positively influence overall arboreal spider richness and abundance. We found that different functional groups of spiders are responding to different local and landscape factors, but overall elevation was most important variable influencing arboreal spider diversity. Our study has practical management applications that suggest having shade grown coffee offers more suitable habitat for arboreal spiders due to a variety of the characteristics of the shade trees. Our results which show consistently more diverse arboreal spider communities in lower elevations are important in light of looming global climate change. As the range of suitable elevations for coffee cultivation shrinks promoting arboreal spider diversity will be important in sustaining the viability of coffee.