Spider biodiversity related to bund habitat and insecticide use in Hainan

Alberto Barrion, S Villareal, J Catindig, International Rice Research Institute, Los Baños, Philippines and Ducheng Cai, Hainan University, Danzhou, Hainan, China

Map of Hainan Island showing locations of the 4 sampling sites

In the first exploration, we collected 10,424 spider individual using various sampling methods and have sorted them out to species. Spider biodiversity is impressive and several species had never been described (Read:New species described). The spider samples were obtained from Hai Kou, Lingshui, Sanya and Danzhou rice fields.  We have also interviewed farmers in these 4 collection sites and obtained their insecticide use patterns. To determine species richness we used the rarefaction method available in ECOSIM and EstimateS (Gotelle and Entsminger, 2005 and Colwell 2009) and  The rarefaction technique was applied to compute species richness to avoid the sample size sensitivity.

There is very high spider biodiversity in Hainan Island. Photo credit: S. Villareal.

Spider species richness seems more related to bund vegetation.  In Haikou and Sanya where farmers in the sampling sites had applied herbicides in the bunds, species richness, S were extremely low, 35.7 for Sanya and 37 for Haikou.  Highest species richness was found in Danzhou (69.7), where insecticide sprays were lowest and rice fields were richly surrounded by vegetation.  Bunds were not sprayed with herbicides. In Lingshui, an area with intensive rice cropping and bunds were not applied with herbicides and often planted with vegetables and fruits the spider species richness was intermediate at 54.5.  The rarefaction curves are shown below.

Rarefaction curves of the spider species richness and abundance. Species richness was compared at abundance equal 1231.

The analysis indicated that spider species richness is probably highly dependent on bund vegetation as these habitats can provide the refugia between rice crops for hiding and reproduction. Thus the two sites that farmers applied herbicides to the bunds had the lowest spider richness.  In the sites where bund integrity was not destroyed by herbicide sprays, spider species richness was higher. Insecticide sprays also have effects as in Danzhou where much less insecticides were used in the rice fields, spider species richness was significantly the highest.


Colwell, R.K. 2009. EstimateS: Statistical estimation of species richness and shared species from samples. Version 8. http://viceroy.eeb.uconn.edu/estimates

Gotelli, N.J. and Entsminger, G.L. 2005. Ecosim: Null Models Software for Ecology. Version 7.72. Acquired Intelligence Inc, & Kesey-Bear. http://www.garyentsminger.com/ecosim/index.htm

New Project to Assess Ecosystem Services in Asia’s Rice Production Initiated

K.L. Heong, International Rice Research Institute, Los Baños, Philippines

Rice ecosystems in Asia are often well endowed with a diversity of habitats

Besides producing rice, most rice landscapes in Asia all provide other less known services. A new project, called LEGATO which stands for stands for Land-use intensity and Ecological EnGineering  – Assessment Tools for  risks and Opportunities in Irrigated rice based production systems was recently launched in Malaysia.  LEGATO is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research’s (BMBF) measure  for “Sustainable land management” program and led by Prof Josef Settele of the Helmholt Centre for Environmental Research, UFZ, with collaboration with IRRI, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), Vietnam, Visayas State University, Philippines, CABI SE Asia, Center for Policy Studies and Analysis (CEPSTA), Hanoi, Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST), the Malaysia Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI) and the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice).  Other collaborating agencies include BIOSS Biomathematics and Statistics, Scotland, PENSOFT Publishers and University of Barcelona, Spain.  This 7.5 million euro project is the first attempt by a consortium of scientists from Europe and Asia to assess and valuate a range of ecosystem services besides provisioning (rice production).  These are regulatory services, such as biological control and pollination and cultural services, such as cultural identity and aesthetics.

Relationship between different strands of ecosystem services and ecological engineering. CS Cultural Services, PS Provisioning Services and RS Regulating Services

Ecological engineering is to provide guidance and methodologies for systematic, intelligent design of ecological systems for the benefit of humans and nature and is the central theme of LEGATO.  There are now several attempts to apply and popularize ecological engineering in rice to restore biodiversity and biological control ecosystem services and reduce vulnerability of rice fields to pest outbreaks, like what is happening in Thailand and Indonesia.  Early this year multi media campaigns  to popularize ecological engineering were launched in  An Giang province, Vietnam and Chainat province, Thailand.


Further information about LEGATO may be obtained from the project website and from “links’ in Hainanproject.org.


UN Decade on Biodiversity Launched by President Aquino in Manila, Philippines

In response to the 10th Conference of Parties (COP10) held in Nagoya, the United Nations has declared 2011 to 2020 as the “UN Decade on Biodiversity”.  Details can be found in http://www.cbd.int/doc/strategic-plan/UN-Decade-Biodiversity.pdf . The Decade on Biodiversity was launched by the President Benigno Aquino III of the Philippines with the secretary general of the CBD Dr Ahmed Djoghlaf in Manila (Details in PhilStar.

Click here for the video of the launch.

The main purposes of the UN Decade on Biodiversity are to:

  • Highlight the importance of biodiversity for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
  • Emphasize the need to achieve the full implementation of the objectives of the Convention (CBD) and other biodiversity related conventions, organizations and processes.
  • Reaffirm the importance of raising public awareness on biodiversity related issues.
  • Stress the need to build on the momentum achieved by the celebration of the International Year of Biodiversity 2010

There is a great diversity of spiders in Hainan Island. So far we have found 4 un-described species. (Photo credit: S Villareal)

The 5 strategic goals of the UN Decade on Biodiversity are

  1. address the underlying causes of biodiversity loss by mainstreaming biodiversity across government and society;
  2. reduce the direct pressures on biodiversity and promote sustainable use;
  3. improve the status of biodiversity by safeguarding ecosystems, species and genetic diversity;
  4. enhance the benefits to all from biodiversity and ecosystem services;
  5. enhance implementation through participatory planning, knowledge management and capacity building.

The Hainan Project contributes directly to the 5 strategic goals to conserve arthropod biodiversity and ecosystem services in rice ecosystems. The research the project conducts will establish the baselines both the arthropod richness, the impact of farm practices such as heavy insecticide use on ecosystem services. The discovery of new species in Hainan Island indicates the inherent richness in biodiversity.  In addition, baseline farmers’ knowledge attitude and practice (KAP) with regard to pest management and biodiversity conservation and the challenges will be documented.

Further links

ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity

Biodiversity and Human Well being