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Matrix composition and landscape heterogeneity structure multiple dimensions of biodiversity in temperate forest birds

Klingbeil, Brian T., Willig, Michael R.
Biodiversity and conservation 2016 v.25 no.13 pp. 2687-2708
biodiversity, birds, breeding, habitats, landscapes, phylogeny, temperate forests, Northeastern United States
Quantifying how human-modified landscapes shape the distribution of biodiversity is critical for developing effective conservation strategies. To address this, we evaluated three hypotheses (habitat area, habitat configuration and matrix heterogeneity hypotheses) that predict responses of biodiversity to landscape structure in human-modified landscapes. We compared characteristics of landscape structure that influence taxonomic (TD), functional (FD), and phylogenetic (PD) dimensions of biodiversity of breeding birds in temperate forests. Relationships between biodiversity and landscape structure were assessed at multiple spatial scales for 20 forest interior sites in northeastern USA. We assessed if relationships with landscape structure were consistent among dimensions and assemblages of different groups (residents, migrants and all birds). Relationships between dimensions of biodiversity and landscape structure were more prevalent for FD and PD than for TD. Forest amount and configuration were rarely associated with any dimensions of biodiversity. In contrast, the identity of the matrix and heterogeneity of the landscape were frequently associated with biodiversity, but relationships differed among groups of birds. For example, FD of all birds was associated positively with landscape diversity but FD of residents was associated negatively with landscape diversity, suggesting that landscape diversity surrounding forests may increase overall FD of birds but that not all groups of species respond similarly. Indeed, biodiversity of migrants was only weakly related to landscape structure. Differences among relationships to landscape structure for bird groups and spatial scales suggests that management plans should consider local decisions within a regional framework to balance potentially conflicting needs of species groups in human-dominated landscapes.