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Taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional homogenization of bird communities due to land use change

Liang, Chenxia, Yang, Guisheng, Wang, Na, Feng, Gang, Yang, Fan, Svenning, Jens-Christian, Yang, Jie
Biological conservation 2019 v.236 pp. 37-43
agricultural land, anthropogenic activities, biodiversity, biodiversity conservation, birds, climate, climate change, habitat destruction, land use change, phylogeny, steppes, villages, woodlands, China
Biotic homogenization, the increasing similarity of biotas over time, is an important topic in biodiversity conservation and has been widely linked to anthropogenic factors, e.g., land use change and climate change. However, so far few studies have simultaneously tested the taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional homogenization caused by human activities. Here, we analyzed the effects of land use change on biotic homogenization of bird communities in these three biodiversity dimensions in the steppe region in Inner Mongolia, China. The results showed that taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional similarities were significantly lower in relatively natural grassland than in the other disturbed habitats, i.e., planted woodland, farmland and village. In addition, there were also higher associations between bird community similarities and climate distances in natural grassland than in the other disturbed habitats. These results suggest that more intense land use types result in consistent taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional homogenization of bird communities, while at the same time diminish community turnover across climate gradients. These findings indicate that anthropogenic activities in this steppe region may not only cause biodiversity loss in taxonomic level, but also in other biodiversity dimensions, highlighting the important role of natural steppe in biodiversity conservation.