63 results found
Hatfield JH, Banks-Leite C, Barlow J, et al., 2024, Constraints on avian seed dispersal reduce potential for resilience in degraded tropical forests, Functional Ecology, Vol: 38, Pages: 315-326, ISSN: 0269-8463
Seed dispersal is fundamental to tropical forest resilience. Forest loss or degradation typically leads to defaunation, altering seed transfer dynamics and impairing the ability of forested habitats to regenerate or recover from perturbation. However, the extent of defaunation, and its likely impacts on the seed dispersers needed to restore highly degraded or clear-felled areas, remains poorly understood in tropical forest landscapes. To quantify defaunation of seed-dispersing birds, we used field survey data from 499 transects in three forested regions of Brazil, first comparing the observed assemblages with those predicted by geographic range maps, and then assessing habitat associations of frugivores across land cover gradients. We found that current bird assemblages have lower functional diversity (FD) than predicted by species range maps in Amazonia (4%–6%), with a greater reduction in FD (28%) for the Atlantic Forest, which has been more heavily deforested for a longer period. Direct measures of seed dispersal are difficult to obtain, so we focused on potential seed transfer inferred from shared species occurrence. Of 83 predominantly frugivorous bird species recorded in relatively intact forests, we show that 10% were absent from degraded forest, and 57% absent from the surrounding matrix of agricultural land covers, including many large-gaped species. Of 112 frugivorous species using degraded forest, 47% were absent from matrix habitats. Overall, frugivores occurring in both intact forest and matrix habitats were outnumbered by (mostly small-gaped) frugivores occurring in both degraded forest and matrix habitats (23 additional species; 64% higher diversity). These findings suggest that birds have the potential to disperse seeds from intact and degraded forest to adjacent cleared lands, but that direct seed transfer from intact forests is limited, particularly for large-seeded trees. Degraded forests may play a vital role in supporting natural regenerat
Bellotto-Trigo FC, Uezu A, Hatfield JH, et al., 2023, Intraspecific variation in sensitivity to habitat fragmentation is influenced by forest cover and distance to the range edge, BIOLOGICAL CONSERVATION, Vol: 284, ISSN: 0006-3207
Granville NR, Banks-Leite C, 2023, Mangrove propagules are limited in their capacity to disperse across long distances, JOURNAL OF TROPICAL ECOLOGY, Vol: 39, ISSN: 0266-4674
Weeks TL, Betts MG, Pfeifer M, et al., 2023, Climate-driven variation in dispersal ability predicts responses to forest fragmentation in birds, Nature Ecology and Evolution, Vol: 7, Pages: 1079-1091, ISSN: 2397-334X
Species sensitivity to forest fragmentation varies latitudinally, peaking in the tropics. A prominent explanation for this pattern is that historical landscape disturbance at higher latitudes has removed fragmentation-sensitive species or promoted the evolution of more resilient survivors. However, it is unclear whether this so-called extinction filter is the dominant driver of geographic variation in fragmentation sensitivity, particularly because climatic factors may also cause latitudinal gradients in dispersal ability, a key trait mediating sensitivity to habitat fragmentation. Here we combine field survey data with a morphological proxy for avian dispersal ability (hand-wing index) to assess responses to forest fragmentation in 1,034 bird species worldwide. We find that fragmentation sensitivity is strongly predicted by dispersal limitation and that other factors—latitude, body mass and historical disturbance events—have relatively limited explanatory power after accounting for species differences in dispersal. We also show that variation in dispersal ability is only weakly predicted by historical disturbance and more strongly associated with intra-annual temperature fluctuations (seasonality). Our results suggest that climatic factors play a dominant role in driving global variation in the impacts of forest fragmentation, emphasizing the need for more nuanced environmental policies that take into account local context and associated species traits.
Lawson J, Rizos G, Jasinghe D, et al., 2023, Automated acoustic detection of Geoffroy's spider monkey highlights tipping points of human disturbance, PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES, Vol: 290, ISSN: 0962-8452
Lawson J, Whitworth A, Banks-Leite C, 2022, Soundscapes show disruption across the diel cycle in human modified tropical landscapes, Ecological Indicators, Vol: 144, ISSN: 1470-160X
1. Fluctuations in the diel cycle, especially when compared across different land-use types, can reveal key changes in acoustic activity and the biological community. Yet few studies have assessed the effects of land use change on soundscapes across the diel cycle. The emergence of passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) allows us to monitor landscapes over longer and continuous periods, providing data on temporal variability across the diel cycle.2. Using AudioMoth acoustic recorders we collected data at 120 sites on the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica, across a gradient of land use intensity. Information was extracted from recordings using a suite of nine acoustic indices. Principal component analysis reduced the indices into two axes, the first reflecting acoustic activity in the mid frequency bands, where the majority of biotic sound is present, and the second, representing acoustic activity in the upper frequency bands and the ratio of activity between the lower and mid-frequency bands.3. In disturbed land use types we found reduced acoustic activity during the characteristic dawn and dusk peaks in the diel cycle; known as the dawn and dusk chorus. Palm oil plantations showed a complete loss of these peaks, while teak plantations retained evidence of a weaker dawn and dusk chorus. Restricting the analysis to narrower temporal windows masks these differences among habitats.4. Synthesis and applications. Evaluating acoustic diversity at specific times of the day, which is common practice in bioacoustics studies, may be misleading, as pronounced changes in acoustic activity at dawn and duskwere obscured. By assessing trends across the diel cycle, we can gain a much better representation of the changes in acoustic activity. Our results show that in disturbed ecosystems there is a deviation in acoustic activity from that seen in a healthy native forest ecosystem, suggesting that there are likely changes within the biotic community in these ecosystems.
Parra-Sanchez E, Banks-Leite C, 2022, Value of human-modified forests for the conservation of canopy epiphytes, BIOTROPICA, Vol: 54, Pages: 958-968, ISSN: 0006-3606
One of landscape ecology's main goals is to unveil how biodiversity is impacted by habitat transformation. However, the discipline suffers from significant context dependency in observed spatial and temporal trends, hindering progress towards understanding the mechanisms driving species declines and preventing the development of accurate estimates of future biodiversity change. Here, we discuss recent evidence that populations' and species' responses to habitat change at the landscape scale are modulated by factors and processes occurring at macroecological scales, such as historical disturbance rates, distance to geographic range edges, and climatic suitability. We suggest that placing landscape ecology studies in a macroecological lens will help to explain seemingly inconsistent results and will ultimately create better predictive models to help mitigate the biodiversity crisis.
Medeiros GG, Antonio J, Harrison M, et al., 2022, Effect of vertebrate exclusion on leaf litter decomposition in the coastal Atlantic forest of southeast Brazil, TROPICAL ECOLOGY, Vol: 63, Pages: 151-154, ISSN: 0564-3295
Folkard-Tapp H, Banks-Leite C, Cavan EL, 2021, Nature-based Solutions to tackle climate change and restore biodiversity, JOURNAL OF APPLIED ECOLOGY, Vol: 58, Pages: 2344-2348, ISSN: 0021-8901
Banks-Leite C, Larrosa C, Carrasco LR, et al., 2021, The suggestion that landscapes should contain 40% of forest cover lacks evidence and is problematic, Ecology Letters, Vol: 24, Pages: 1112-1113, ISSN: 1461-023X
A recent review suggests that forest cover needs to be restored or maintained on at least 40% of land area. In the absence of empirical evidence to support this threshold, we discuss how this suggestion is unhelpful and potentially dangerous. We advocate for regionally defined thresholds to inform conservation and restoration.
Rizos G, Lawson J, Han Z, et al., 2021, Multi-Attentive Detection of the Spider Monkey Whinny in the (Actual) Wild, Interspeech Conference, Publisher: ISCA-INT SPEECH COMMUNICATION ASSOC, Pages: 471-475, ISSN: 2308-457X
Banks-Leite C, Ewers R, Folkard-Tapp H, et al., 2020, Countering the effects of habitat loss, fragmentation, and degradation through habitat restoration, One Earth, Vol: 3, Pages: 672-676, ISSN: 2590-3322
Habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation impacts are the most direct threat to global biodiversity. In this Primer, we discuss how these three forms of habitat transformation are inextricably intertwined, and how their effects on biodiversity and ecosystems are often context-specific. We draw on recent analyses that have explored this context-dependence directly, to discuss how local-scale impacts of habitat transformation are mediated by biogeographic-scale variation in evolutionary histories and species’ geographic ranges. We also discuss how changes to ecosystem functions and services in modified habitats can be just as context-dependent – and how these changes are further obscured by high levels of ecological redundancy in species functions, which can confer resilience to habitat transformation. To avoid the impending extinction of millions of species, it is crucial that the impacts of habitat transformation are mitigated through a combination of preventing further habitat loss while simultaneously extending and repairing the habitats that remain.
Parra-Sanchez E, Banks-Leite C, 2020, The magnitude and extent of edge effects on vascular epiphytes across the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, Scientific Reports, Vol: 10, Pages: 1-11, ISSN: 2045-2322
Edge effects are ubiquitous landscape processes influencing over 70% of forest cover worldwide. However, little is known about how edge effects influence the vertical stratification of communities in forest fragments. We combined a spatially implicit and a spatially explicit approach to quantify the magnitude and extent of edge effects on canopy and understorey epiphytic plants in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. Within the human-modified landscape, species richness, species abundance and community composition remained practically unchanged along the interior-edge gradient, pointing to severe biotic homogenisation at all strata. This is because the extent of edge effects reached at least 500 m, potentially leaving just 0.24% of the studied landscape unaffected by edges. We extrapolated our findings to the entire Atlantic Forest and found that just 19.4% of the total existing area is likely unaffected by edge effects and provide suitable habitat conditions for forest-dependent epiphytes. Our results suggest that the resources provided by the current forest cover might be insufficient to support the future of epiphyte communities. Preserving large continuous ‘intact’ forests is probably the only effective conservation strategy for vascular epiphytes.
Chan A, Banks-Leite C, 2020, Habitat modification mediates the strength of trophic cascades on oak trees, Perspectives in Ecology and Conservation, Vol: 18, Pages: 313-318, ISSN: 2530-0644
Habitat modification is now a widespread phenomenon, impacting landscape structure, biophysical processes, food webs and biodiversity. These changes have trickle-down effects on trophic cascades: predators often become rarer, increasing prey populations, which then subject plants to higher levels of herbivory. How habitat modification mediates this trophic cascade, however, is poorly understood, and this is particularly true for temperate forests. Here we investigate if the strength of trophic cascades, defined as the magnitude of the effect of bird exclusion on leaf damage, varies along a gradient of increasing habitat modification, from forest interior to forest edge to open habitat, through an experimental manipulation of bird exclusion. We found that habitat modification reduces the number of bird observations, with trophic cascades being three times stronger in the forest interior than edge and open habitats. However, there is no corresponding increase in leaf damage with habitat modification in the presence of birds, suggesting that other taxa or factors may mediate leaf damage in modified habitats. Our findings suggest that even though habitat modification disrupts the functions that birds perform in the ecosystem, overall ecosystem function is not dramatically altered, possibly due to the functional redundancy of birds.
Lima RAFD, Condé PA, Banks-Leite C, et al., 2020, Disentangling the effects of sampling scale and size on the shape of species abundance distributions, PLoS One, Vol: 15, Pages: e0238854-e0238854, ISSN: 1932-6203
Many authors have tried to explain the shape of the species abundance distribution (SAD). Some of them have suggested that sampling spatial scale is an important factor shaping SADs. These suggestions, however, did not consider the indirect and well-known effect of sample size, which increases as samples are combined to generate SADs at larger spatial scales. Here, we separate the effects of sample size and sampling scale on the shape of the SAD for three groups of organisms (trees, beetles and birds) sampled in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. We compared the observed SADs at different sampling scales with simulated SADs having the same richness, relative abundances but comparable sample sizes, to show that the main effect shaping SADs is sample size and not sampling spatial scale. The effect of scale was minor and deviations between observed and simulated SADs were present only for beetles. For trees, the match between observed and simulated SADs was improved at all spatial scales when we accounted for conspecific aggregation, which was even more important than the sampling scale effect. We build on these results to propose a conceptual framework where observed SADs are shaped by three main factors, in decreasing order of importance: sample size, conspecific aggregation and beta diversity. Therefore, studies comparing SADs across sites or scales should use sampling and/or statistical approaches capable of disentangling these three effects on the shape of SADs.
Harrison MLK, Banks-Leite C, 2020, Edge effects on trophic cascades in tropical rainforests, CONSERVATION BIOLOGY, Vol: 34, Pages: 977-987, ISSN: 0888-8892
Lima DO, BanksLeite C, Lorini ML, et al., 2020, Anthropogenic effects on the occurrence of medium‐sized mammals on the Brazilian Pampa biome, Animal Conservation, ISSN: 1367-9430
Hintzen RE, Papadopoulou M, Mounce R, et al., 2020, Relationship between conservation biology and ecology shown through machine reading of 32,000 articles, Conservation Biology, Vol: 34, Pages: 721-732, ISSN: 0888-8892
Conservation biology was founded on the idea that efforts to save nature depend on a scientific understanding of how it works. It sought to apply ecological principles to conservation problems. We investigated whether the relationship between these fields has changed over time through machine reading the full texts of 32,000 research articles published in 16 ecology and conservation biology journals. We examined changes in research topics in both fields and how the fields have evolved from 2000 to 2014. As conservation biology matured, its focus shifted from ecology to social and political aspects of conservation. The 2 fields diverged and now occupy distinct niches in modern science. We hypothesize this pattern resulted from increasing recognition that social, economic, and political factors are critical for successful conservation and possibly from rising skepticism about the relevance of contemporary ecological theory to practical conservation. Article Impact statement: Quantitative literature evaluation reveals that the research topics of ecology and conservation biology are drawing apart. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Hatfield J, Barlow J, Joly CA, et al., 2020, Mediation of area and edge effects by adjacent land use, Conservation Biology, Vol: 34, Pages: 395-404, ISSN: 0888-8892
Habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation have pervasive detrimental effects on tropical forest biodiversity, but the role of the surrounding land use (i.e. matrix) in determining the severity of these impacts remains poorly understood. We surveyed bird species across an interior-edge-matrix gradient to assess the effects of matrix type on biodiversity at 49 different sites with varying levels of landscape fragmentation in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest – a highly threatened biodiversity hotspot. Our findings revealed that both area and edge effects are more pronounced in forest patches bordering pasture matrix, while patches bordering Eucalyptus plantation maintained compositionally similar bird communities between the edge and the interior, in addition to exhibiting reduced effects of patch size. These results suggest that the type of matrix in which forest fragments are situated can explain a substantial amount of the widely-reported variability in biodiversity responses to forest loss and fragmentation.
Watling J, Arroyo-Rodriguez V, Pfeifer M, et al., 2020, Support for the habitat amount hypothesis from a global synthesis of species density studies, ECOLOGY LETTERS, Vol: 23, Pages: 674-681, ISSN: 1461-023X
Püttker T, Crouzeilles R, Almeida-Gomes M, et al., 2020, Indirect effects of habitat loss via habitat fragmentation: A cross-taxa analysis of forest-dependent species, Biological Conservation, Vol: 241, Pages: 1-10, ISSN: 0006-3207
Recent studies suggest that habitat amount is the main determinant of species richness, whereas habitat fragmentation has weak and mostly positive effects. Here, we challenge these ideas using a multi-taxa database including 2230 estimates of forest-dependent species richness from 1097 sampling sites across the Brazilian Atlantic Forest biodiversity hotspot. We used a structural equation modeling approach, accounting not only for direct effects of habitat loss, but also for its indirect effects (via habitat fragmentation), on the richness of forest-dependent species. We reveal that in addition to the effects of habitat loss, habitat fragmentation has negative impacts on animal species richness at intermediate (30–60%) levels of habitat amount, and on richness of plants at high (>60%) levels of habitat amount, both of which are mediated by edge effects. Based on these results, we argue that dismissing habitat fragmentation as a powerful force driving species extinction in tropical forest landscapes is premature and unsafe.
Betts MG, Wolf C, Pfeifer M, et al., 2019, Extinction filters mediate the global effects of habitat fragmentation on animals, Science, Vol: 366, Pages: 1236-1239, ISSN: 0036-8075
Habitat loss is the primary driver of biodiversity decline worldwide, but the effects of fragmentation (the spatial arrangement of remaining habitat) are debated. We tested the hypothesis that forest fragmentation sensitivity-affected by avoidance of habitat edges-should be driven by historical exposure to, and therefore species' evolutionary responses to disturbance. Using a database containing 73 datasets collected worldwide (encompassing 4489 animal species), we found that the proportion of fragmentation-sensitive species was nearly three times as high in regions with low rates of historical disturbance compared with regions with high rates of disturbance (i.e., fires, glaciation, hurricanes, and deforestation). These disturbances coincide with a latitudinal gradient in which sensitivity increases sixfold at low versus high latitudes. We conclude that conservation efforts to limit edges created by fragmentation will be most important in the world's tropical forests.
Ewers RM, Barlow J, Banks-Leite C, et al., 2019, Separate authorship categories to recognize data collectors and code developers, NATURE ECOLOGY & EVOLUTION, Vol: 3, Pages: 1610-1610, ISSN: 2397-334X
Vargas-Pellicer P, Watrobska C, Knowles S, et al., 2019, How should we store avian faecal samples for microbiota analyses? Comparing efficacy and cost-effectiveness, JOURNAL OF MICROBIOLOGICAL METHODS, Vol: 165, ISSN: 0167-7012
Larrosa CR, Carrasco LR, Tambosi LR, et al., 2019, Spatial conservation planning with ecological and economic feedback effects, Biological Conservation, Vol: 237, Pages: 308-316, ISSN: 0006-3207
Most spatial conservation prioritisations being implemented across the globe are based on static approaches to conservation planning. These use snapshots of systems to support decision-making. However, ignoring the dynamic nature of systems can result in misleading spatial prioritisations and missed opportunities to encourage participation in conservation programmes. Using a modelling approach, we show that integrating economic and ecological feedbacks into conservation planning improved social and ecological outcomes. We developed an approach that enabled accounting for feedbacks of farmland set-asides using a popular conservation planning tool. We empirically assessed the impact of ignoring feedbacks on plans to restore the Brazilian Atlantic Forest by comparing outcomes of our approach and a widely used static approach. The proposed approach attained better conservation outcomes than a static approach, at about 7% lower cost, while also allowing more farmers to benefit economically from the set-aside scheme through capitalising on the differences between their opportunity costs and the amount paid by the scheme. Accounting for feedbacks led to substantially different areas being prioritised for farmland set-asides, and to more farmers being included in the set-aside scheme. These results show important benefits from understanding, and then working with, feedbacks that inevitably accompany large-scale conservation interventions. Our approach is the first to integrate both environmental and economic feedbacks into spatial conservation planning, and model information rent capture. In doing so, it demonstrates how existing economic incentives can be used to encourage farmers to join a conservation set-aside, while still resulting in a lower overall intervention cost.
Vidal MM, Banks-Leite C, Tambosi LR, et al., 2019, Predicting the non-linear collapse of plant-frugivore networks due to habitat loss, Ecography, ISSN: 0906-7590
Orme CDL, Mayor S, Dos Anjos L, et al., 2019, Publisher Correction: Distance to range edge determines sensitivity to deforestation, Nature Ecology and Evolution, Vol: 3, Pages: 1131-1131, ISSN: 2397-334X
Correction to: Nature Ecology & Evolution https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-019-0889-z, published online 06 May 2019.
Rodrigues RC, Hasui É, Assis JC, et al., 2019, Atalntic Bird Traits: a data set of bird morphological traits from the Atlantic forests of South America, Ecology, Vol: 100, ISSN: 0012-9658
Scientists have long been trying to understand why the Neotropical region holds the highest diversity of birds on Earth. Recently, there has been increased interest in morphological variation between and within species, and in how climate, topography, and anthropogenic pressures may explain and affect phenotypic variation. Because morphological data are not always available for many species at the local or regional scale, we are limited in our understanding of intra- and interspecies spatial morphological variation. Here, we present the ATLANTIC BIRD TRAITS, a data set that includes measurements of up to 44 morphological traits in 67,197 bird records from 2,790 populations distributed throughout the Atlantic forests of South America. This data set comprises information, compiled over two centuries (1820–2018), for 711 bird species, which represent 80% of all known bird diversity in the Atlantic Forest. Among the most commonly reported traits are sex (n = 65,717), age (n = 63,852), body mass (n = 58,768), flight molt presence (n = 44,941), molt presence (n = 44,847), body molt presence (n = 44,606), tail length (n = 43,005), reproductive stage (n = 42,588), bill length (n = 37,409), body length (n = 28,394), right wing length (n = 21,950), tarsus length (n = 20,342), and wing length (n = 18,071). The most frequently recorded species are Chiroxiphia caudata (n = 1,837), Turdus albicollis (n = 1,658), Trichothraupis melanops (n = 1,468), Turdus leucomelas (n = 1,436), and Basileuterus culicivorus (n = 1,384). The species recorded in the greatest number of sampling localities are Basileuterus culicivorus (n = 243), Trichothraupis melanops (n = 242), Chiroxiphia caudata (n = 210), Platyrinchus mystaceus (n = 208), and Turdus rufiventris (n =&nb
Orme D, Mayor S, dos Anjos L, et al., 2019, Distance to range edge determines sensitivity to deforestation, Nature Ecology and Evolution, Vol: 3, Pages: 886-891, ISSN: 2397-334X
It is generally assumed that deforestation affects a species consistently across space, however populations near their geographic range edge may exist at their niche limits and therefore be more sensitive to disturbance. We found that both within and across Atlantic Forest bird species, populations are more sensitive to deforestation when near their range edge. In fact, the negative effects of deforestation on bird occurrences switched to positive in the range core (>829 km), in line with Ellenberg’s rule. We show that the proportion of populations at their range core and edge varies across Brazil, suggesting deforestation effects on communities, and hence the most appropriate conservation action, also vary geographically.
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