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Recent work in the tropics has advanced our understanding of the local impacts of land-use change on species richness. However, we still have a limited ability to make predictions about species abundances, especially in heterogeneous landscapes. Species abundances directly affect the functioning of an ecosystem and its conservation value. We applied a hierarchical model to camera- and live-trapping data from a region in Borneo, and estimated the relative abundance (controlling for imperfect detection) of 57 terrestrial mammal species, as a function of either categorical or continuous metrics of land-use change. We found that mean relative abundance increased (by 28%) from old-growth to logged forest, but declined substantially (by 47%) in oil palm plantations compared to forest. Abundance responses to above-ground live tree biomass (a continuous measure of local logging intensity) were negative overall, whilst they were strongly positive for landscape forest cover. From old-growth to logged forest, small mammals increased in their relative abundance proportionately much more than large mammals (169% compared to 13%). Similarly, omnivores and insectivores increased more than other trophic guilds (carnivores, herbivores and frugivores). From forest to oil palm, species of high conservation concern fared especially poorly (declining by 84%). Invasive species relative abundance consistently increased along the gradient of land-use intensity. Changes in relative abundance across nine functional effects groups based on diet were minimal from old-growth to logged forest, but in oil palm only the vertebrate predation function was maintained. Our results show that, in the absence of hunting, even the most intensively logged forests can conserve the abundance and functional effects of mammals. Recent pledges made by companies to support the protection of High Carbon Stock logged forest could therefore yield substantial conservation benefits. Within oil palm, our results suppo
The PREDICTS project-Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity In Changing Terrestrial Systems (www.predicts.org.uk)-has collated from published studies a large, reasonably representative database of comparable samples of biodiversity from multiple sites that differ in the nature or intensity of human impacts relating to land use. We have used this evidence base to develop global and regional statistical models of how local biodiversity responds to these measures. We describe and make freely available this 2016 release of the database, containing more than 3.2 million records sampled at over 26,000 locations and representing over 47,000 species. We outline how the database can help in answering a range of questions in ecology and conservation biology. To our knowledge, this is the largest and most geographically and taxonomically representative database of spatial comparisons of biodiversity that has been collated to date; it will be useful to researchers and international efforts wishing to model and understand the global status of biodiversity.
Species have strong indirect effects on others, and predicting these effects is a central challenge in ecology. Prey species sharing an enemy (predator or parasitoid) can be linked by apparent competition, but it is unknown whether this process is strong enough to be a community-wide structuring mechanism that could be used to predict future states of diverse food webs. Whether species abundances are spatially coupled by enemy movement across different habitats is also untested. Here, using a field experiment, we show that predicted apparent competitive effects between species, mediated via shared parasitoids, can significantly explain future parasitism rates and herbivore abundances. These predictions are successful even across edges between natural and managed forests, following experimental reduction of herbivore densities by aerial spraying over 20ha. This result shows that trophic indirect effects propagate across networks and habitats in important, predictable ways, with implications for landscape planning, invasion biology and biological control.
Land-use change and intensification threaten bee populations worldwide, imperilling pollination services. Global models are needed to better characterise, project, and mitigate bees' responses to these human impacts. The available data are, however, geographically and taxonomically unrepresentative; most data are from North America and Western Europe, overrepresenting bumblebees and raising concerns that model results may not be generalizable to other regions and taxa. To assess whether the geographic and taxonomic biases of data could undermine effectiveness of models for conservation policy, we have collated from the published literature a global dataset of bee diversity at sites facing land-use change and intensification, and assess whether bee responses to these pressures vary across 11 regions (Western, Northern, Eastern and Southern Europe; North, Central and South America; Australia and New Zealand; South East Asia; Middle and Southern Africa) and between bumblebees and other bees. Our analyses highlight strong regionally-based responses of total abundance, species richness and Simpson's diversity to land use, caused by variation in the sensitivity of species and potentially in the nature of threats. These results suggest that global extrapolation of models based on geographically and taxonomically restricted data may underestimate the true uncertainty, increasing the risk of ecological surprises.
AimAlien species alter interaction networks by disrupting existing interactions, for example between plants and pollinators, and by engaging in new interactions. Predicting the effects of an incoming invader can be difficult, although recent work suggests species roles in interaction networks may be conserved across locations. We test whether species roles in plant–pollinator networks differ between their native and alien ranges and whether the former can be used to predict the latter.LocationWorld-wide.MethodsWe used 64 plant–pollinator networks to search for species occurring in at least one network in its native range and one network in its alien range. We found 17 species meeting these criteria, distributed in 48 plant–pollinator networks. We characterized each species’ role by estimating species-level network indices: normalized degree, closeness centrality, betweenness centrality and two measures of contribution to modularity (c- and z-scores). Linear mixed models and linear regression models were used to test for differences in species role between native and alien ranges and to predict those roles from the native to the alien range, respectively.ResultsSpecies roles varied considerably across species. Nevertheless, although species lost their native mutualists and gained novel interactions in the alien community, their role did not differ significantly between ranges. Consequently, closeness centrality and normalized degree in the alien range were highly predictable from the native range networks.Main conclusionsSpecies with high degree and centrality define the core of nested networks. Our results suggest that core species are likely to establish interactions and be core species in the alien range, whilst species with few interactions in their native range will behave similarly in their alien range. Our results provide new insights into species role conservatism and could help ecologists to predict alien species impact at the communi
Species roles in ecological networks combine to generate their architecture, which contributes to their stability. Species trait diversity also affects ecosystem functioning and resilience, yet it remains unknown whether species’ contributions to functional diversity relate to their network roles. Here we use 21 empirical pollen transport networks to characterise this relationship. We found that, apart from a few abundant species, pollinators with original traits either had few interaction partners or interacted most frequently with a subset of these partners. This suggests that narrowing of interactions to a subset of the plant community accompanies pollinator niche specialisation, congruent with our hypothesised trade-off between having unique traits vs. being able to interact with many mutualist partners. Conversely, these effects were not detected in plants, potentially because key aspects of their flowering traits are conserved at a family level. Relating functional and network roles can provide further insight into mechanisms underlying ecosystem functioning.
1.Species interactions, ranging from antagonisms to mutualisms, form the architecture of biodiversity and determine ecosystem functioning. Understanding the rules responsible for who interacts with whom, as well as the functional consequences of these interspecific interactions, is central to predict community dynamics and stability.2.Species traits sensu lato may affect different ecological processes by determining species interactions through a two-step process. First, ecological and life-history traits govern species distributions and abundance, and hence determine species co-occurrence and the potential for species to interact. Second, morphological or physiological traits between co-occurring potential interaction partners should match for the realization of an interaction. Here, we review recent advances on predicting interactions from species co-occurrence, and develop a probabilistic model for inferring trait matching.3.The models proposed here integrate both neutral and trait-matching constraints, while using only information about known interactions, thereby overcoming problems originating from under-sampling of rare interactions (i.e. missing links). They can easily accommodate qualitative or quantitative data, and can incorporate trait variation within species, such as values that vary along developmental stages or environmental gradients.4.We use three case studies to show that the proposed models can detect strong trait matching (e.g. predator-prey system), relaxed trait matching (e.g. herbivore-plant system) and barrier trait matching (e.g. plant-pollinator systems).5.Only by elucidating which species traits are important in each process (i.e. in determining interaction establishment and frequency), can we advance in explaining how species interact and the consequences of these interactions for ecosystem functioning.
South East Asia has the highest rate of lowland forest loss of any tropical region, with logging and deforestation for conversion to plantation agriculture being flagged as the most urgent threats. Detecting and mapping logging impacts on forest structure is a primary conservation concern, as these impacts feed through to changes in biodiversity and ecosystem functions. Here, we test whether high-spatial resolution satellite remote sensing can be used to map the responses of aboveground live tree biomass (AGB), canopy leaf area index (LAI) and fractional vegetation cover (FCover) to selective logging and deforestation in Malaysian Borneo. We measured these attributes in permanent vegetation plots in rainforest and oil palm plantations across the degradation landscape of the Stability of Altered Forest Ecosystems project. We found significant mathematical relationships between field-measured structure and satellite-derived spectral and texture information, explaining up to 62% of variation in biophysical structure across forest and oil palm plots. These relationships held at different aggregation levels from plots to forest disturbance types and oil palms allowing us to map aboveground biomass and canopy structure across the degradation landscape. The maps reveal considerable spatial variation in the impacts of previous logging, a pattern that was less clear when considering field data alone. Up-scaled maps revealed a pronounced decline in aboveground live tree biomass with increasing disturbance, impacts which are also clearly visible in the field data even a decade after logging. Field data demonstrate a rapid recovery in forest canopy structure with the canopy recovering to pre-disturbance levels a decade after logging. Yet, up-scaled maps show that both LAI and FCover are still reduced in logged compared to primary forest stands and markedly lower in oil palm stands. While uncertainties remain, these maps can now be utilised to identify conservation win–win
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