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Beta-diversity buffers fragmented landscapes against local species losses
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  • Cristian Dambros,
  • Thiago Izzo,
  • Ricardo Vicente,
  • Carlos Peres
Cristian Dambros
University of Vermont

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Thiago Izzo
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Ricardo Vicente
Instituto Nacional da Mata Atlântica
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Carlos Peres
University of East Anglia School of Environmental Sciences
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Agricultural expansion has markedly reduced forests and reconfigured landscapes. These changes incur a well-known detrimental impact on the biodiversity of local forest patches, but the effects on species persistence at entire landscapes comprised of multiple patches are debated. We investigated how regional diversity is affected by habitat loss, fragmentation, and cattle grazing, and how species respond to deforestation both locally and regionally. We also investigated how the heterogeneity in species distribution (beta-diversity) buffers landscapes against local diversity losses. The vast majority of the 251 ant species found in our study were negatively affected by both habitat loss and cattle at local forest patches, drastically reducing diversity at these patches compared to pristine forests. Despite local declines in diversity, however, heavily fragmented landscapes could still retain most species due to the high heterogeneity in species distribution. We found that beta-diversity is the main component of regional diversity. Results from several studies suggest that this component is maximized when remnant primary habitats in a landscape are spread across vast areas. Although preserving local diversity may be important for the adequate functioning of the ecosystem locally, our results indicate that the maintenance of many small forest patches in a landscape can buffer regional biodiversity against local species losses. Our results suggest that even small forest remnants in otherwise deforested landscapes can prevent most regional-scale species extirpations, and therefore also merit conservation efforts.
31 Aug 2023Submitted to Oikos
04 Sep 2023Submission Checks Completed
04 Sep 2023Assigned to Editor
04 Sep 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
15 Sep 2023Reviewer(s) Assigned
22 Oct 2023Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
06 Nov 20231st Revision Received
07 Nov 2023Submission Checks Completed
07 Nov 2023Assigned to Editor
07 Nov 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
10 Nov 2023Editorial Decision: Accept