Tropical secondary forest and agroforestry systems have been identified as important refuges for the local species diversity of birds and other animal groups, but little is
known about the importance of these systems for terrestrial herbs. In particular, few studies report how the conversion from tropical forest to technified cacao plantation
affects the species richness and the community structure of herbs. We conducted surveys in 43 cacao plantations along the border of the Lore Lindu National
Park in Central Sulawesi, ranging from agroforests to technified cacao, categorizing the plantations as rustic cacao, planted shade cacao, and technified cacao. We
recorded 91 herb species. Of the 74 species determined to species level, 21 were also found in natural forests, while 53 were recorded only in agricultural habitats.
Araceae was the most forest-dependent plant family while Asteraceae included the highest number of nonforest species. Overall, the presence of forest species was
confined to moderately intensively managed rustic and planted shaded plantations. Distance from the forest, which has been identified as a crucial parameter for
the diversity and composition of other taxa in cacao agroforests, only played a minimal role for herbs. Our study suggests that native forest herbs maybe more
vulnerable to forest conversion than animal groups. The intensification of cacao plantation management increases the presence of weedy species to the detriment of
native forest species.