Degradation in landscape matrix has diverse impacts on diversity in protected areas
Le Tortorec, Eric
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Introduction: A main goal of protected areas is to maintain species diversity and the integrity of biological assemblages. Intensifying land use in the matrix surrounding protected areas creates a challenge for biodiversity conservation. Earlier studies have mainly focused on taxonomic diversity within protected areas. However, functional and especially phylogenetic diversities are less studied phenomena, especially with respect to the impacts of the matrix that surrounds protected areas. Phylogenetic diversity refers to the range of evolutionary lineages, the maintenance of which ensures that future evolutionary potential is safeguarded. Functional diversity refers to the range of ecological roles that members of a community perform. For ecosystem functioning and long-term resilience, they are at least as important as taxonomic diversity. Aim: We studied how the characteristics of protected areas and land use intensity in the surrounding matrix affect the diversity of bird communities in protected boreal forests. We used line-transect count and land-cover data from 91 forest reserves in Northern Finland, and land-cover data from buffer zones surrounding these reserves. We studied if habitat diversity and productivity inside protected areas, and intensity of forest management in the matrix have consistent effects on taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic diversities, and community specialization. Results: We found that habitat diversity and productivity inside protected areas have strong effects on all diversity metrics, but matrix effects were inconsistent. The proportion of old forest in the matrix, reflecting low intensity forest management, had positive effects on community specialization. Interestingly, functional diversity increased with increasing logging intensity in the matrix. Conclusions: Our results indicate that boreal forest reserves are not able to maintain their species composition and abundances if embedded in a severely degraded matrix. Our study also highlights the importance of focusing on different aspects of biodiversity.
Is part ofPLoS ONE, 2017, vol. 12, núm. 9, e0184792
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