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Spillover of functionally important organisms between managed and natural habitats

Eleanor J. Blitzer, Carsten F. Dormann, Andrea Holzschuh, Alexandra-Maria Klein, Tatyana A. Rand, Teja Tscharntke
Agriculture, ecosystems & environment 2012 v.146 no.1 pp. 34-43
habitats, herbivores, landscapes, natural resource management, pathogens, pollinators, predators, seeds
Land-use intensification has led to a landscape mosaic that juxtaposes human-managed and natural areas. In such human-dominated and heterogeneous landscapes, spillover across habitat types, especially in systems that differ in resource availability, may be an important ecological process structuring communities. While there is much evidence for spillover from natural habitats to managed areas, little attention has been given to flow in the opposite direction. This paper synthesizes studies published to date from five functionally important trophic groups, herbivores, pathogens, pollinators, predators, and seed dispersers, and discusses evidence for spillover from managed to natural systems in all five groups. For each of the five focal groups, studies in the natural to managed direction are common, often with multiple review articles on each subject which document dozens of examples. In contrast, the number of studies which examine movement in the managed to natural direction is generally less than five studies per trophic group. These findings suggest that spillover in the managed to natural direction has been largely underestimated. As habitat modification continues, resulting in increasingly fragmented landscapes, the likelihood and size of any spillover effect will only increase.