How does FSC forest certification affect the acoustically active fauna in Madre de Dios, Peru?
Despite several efforts to quantify the effectiveness of forest certification in developing sustainable use of forest resources, there is little evidence that certi- fied forests are more effective in conserving fauna than non-certified managed forest. To evaluate the impact of forest certification on the fauna, we compared the biodiversity in reference sites (n = 23), Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified management sites (n = 24) and non-FSC management sites (n = 20) in the Tahuamanu region of Peru, during the dry season of 2017. Specifically, we determined if the acoustic space used (ASU), soundscapes composition, and the bird richness and composition significantly varied among the three manage- ment types. Variation in ASU was best explained by management type and mean ASU in the FSC sites was significantly greater than the reference and non-FSC sites, possibly suggesting greater richness of acoustically active species. An ordination analysis of the soundscapes showed that there was a significant difference among the three management types. There was greater dissimilarity in soundscape composition between the FSC and non-FSC sites, and greater overlap between FSC and reference sites. Bird identifications resulted in 11,300 detections of 226 bird species. Bird species richness and composition were not significantly different among the management types, indicating, in this context, that birds may not be the best indicators of different management strategies. The weak discrimination by the bird community is likely due to their dispersal ability, undisturbed primary forest matrix, and the occurrence of bamboo patches. The differences in ASU among the management types were most likely due to differences in acoustically active insects, which may be more sensitive to changes in microhabitat differences. Our findings correspond with the conclu- sions of other studies that certified forests can maintain levels of fauna biodi- versity similar to those of undisturbed primary forest in the Amazon region.