Extinction filters mediate the global effects of habitat fragmentation on animals

Betts, Matthew G. and Wolf, Christopher and Pfeifer, Marion and Banks-Leite, Cristina and Arroyo-Rodríguez, Víctor and Ribeiro, Danilo B. and Barlow, Jos and Eigenbrod, Felix and Faria, Deborah and Fletcher, Robert J. and Hadley, Adam S. and Hawes, Joseph E. and Holt, Robert D. and Klingbeil, Brian and Kormann, Urs and Lens, Luc and Levi, Taal and Medina-Rangel, Guido F. and Melles, Stephanie L. and Mezger, Dirk and Morante-Filho, José C. and Orme, C. David L. and Peres, Carlos A. and Phalan, Benjamin T. and Pidgeon, Anna and Possingham, Hugh and Ripple, William J. and Slade, Eleanor M. and Somarriba, Eduardo and Tobias, Joseph A. and Tylianakis, Jason M. and Urbina-Cardona, J. Nicolás and Valente, Jonathon J. and Watling, James I. and Wells, Konstans and Wearn, Oliver R. and Wood, Eric and Young, Richard and Ewers, Robert M. (2019) Extinction filters mediate the global effects of habitat fragmentation on animals. Science, 366 (6470). pp. 1236-1239. ISSN 1095-9203

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aax9387

Abstract

Habitat loss is the primary driver of biodiversity decline worldwide, but the effects of fragmentation (the spatial arrangement of remaining habitat) are debated. We tested the hypothesis that forest fragmentation sensitivity—affected by avoidance of habitat edges—should be driven by historical exposure to, and therefore species’ evolutionary responses to disturbance. Using a database containing 73 datasets collected worldwide (encompassing 4489 animal species), we found that the proportion of fragmentation-sensitive species was nearly three times as high in regions with low rates of historical disturbance compared with regions with high rates of disturbance (i.e., fires, glaciation, hurricanes, and deforestation). These disturbances coincide with a latitudinal gradient in which sensitivity increases sixfold at low versus high latitudes. We conclude that conservation efforts to limit edges created by fragmentation will be most important in the world’s tropical forests.

Item Type: Journal Article
Faculty: Faculty of Science & Engineering
Depositing User: Lisa Blanshard
Date Deposited: 16 Jan 2020 11:54
Last Modified: 20 Jan 2020 11:06
URI: http://arro.anglia.ac.uk/id/eprint/705102

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