Positive edge effects on forest-interior cryptogams in clear-cuts.
ABSTRACT: Biological edge effects are often assessed in high quality focal habitats that are negatively influenced by human-modified low quality matrix habitats. A deeper understanding of the possibilities for positive edge effects in matrix habitats bordering focal habitats (e.g. spillover effects) is, however, essential for enhancing landscape-level resilience to human alterations. We surveyed epixylic (dead wood inhabiting) forest-interior cryptogams (lichens, bryophytes, and fungi) associated with mature old-growth forests in 30 young managed Swedish boreal forest stands bordering a mature forest of high conservation value. In each young stand we registered species occurrences on coarse dead wood in transects 0-50 m from the border between stand types. We quantified the effect of distance from the mature forest on the occurrence of forest-interior species in the young stands, while accounting for local environment and propagule sources. For comparison we also surveyed epixylic open-habitat (associated with open forests) and generalist cryptogams. Species composition of epixylic cryptogams in young stands differed with distance from the mature forest: the frequency of occurrence of forest-interior species decreased with increasing distance whereas it increased for open-habitat species. Generalists were unaffected by distance. Epixylic, boreal forest-interior cryptogams do occur in matrix habitats such as clear-cuts. In addition, they are associated with the matrix edge because of a favourable microclimate closer to the mature forest on southern matrix edges. Retention and creation of dead wood in clear-cuts along the edges to focal habitats is a feasible way to enhance the long-term persistence of epixylic habitat specialists in fragmented landscapes. The proposed management measures should be performed in the whole stand as it matures, since microclimatic edge effects diminish as the matrix habitat matures. We argue that management that aims to increase habitat quality in matrix habitats bordering focal habitats should increase the probability of long-term persistence of habitat specialists.
Project description:Understanding the response of species with differing life-history traits to habitat edges and habitat conversion helps predict their likelihood of persistence across changing landscape. In Brazil's Atlantic Forest, we evaluated frog richness and abundance by breeding guild at four distances from the edge of a reserve: i) 200 m inside the forest, ii) 50 m inside the forest, iii) at the forest edge, and iv) 50 m inside three different converted habitats (coffee plantation, non-native Eucalyptus plantation, and abandoned pastures, hereafter matrix types). By sampling a dry and a wet season, we recorded 622 individual frogs representing 29 species, of which three were undescribed. Breeding guild (i.e. bromeliad, leaf-litter, and water-body breeders) was the most important variable explaining frog distributions in relation to edge effects and matrix types. Leaf-litter and bromeliad breeders decreased in richness and abundance from the forest interior toward the matrix habitats. Water-body breeders increased in richness toward the matrix and remained relatively stable in abundance across distances. Number of large trees (i.e. DBH > 15 cm) and bromeliads best explained frog richness and abundance across distances. Twenty species found in the interior of the forest were not found in any matrix habitat. Richness and abundance across breeding guilds were higher in the rainy season but frog distributions were similar across the four distances in the two seasons. Across matrix types, leaf-litter species primarily used Eucalyptus plantations, whereas water-body species primarily used coffee plantations. Bromeliad breeders were not found inside any matrix habitat. Our study highlights the importance of primary forest for bromeliad and leaf-litter breeders. We propose that water-body breeders use edge and matrix habitats to reach breeding habitats along the valleys. Including life-history characteristics, such as breeding guild, can improve predictions of frog distributions in response to edge effect and matrix types, and can guide more effective management and conservation actions.
Project description:We studied the distribution of millipedes in a forest interior-forest edge-grassland habitat complex in the Hajdúság Landscape Protection Area (NE Hungary). The habitat types were as follows: (1) lowland oak forest, (2) forest edge with increased ground vegetation and shrub cover, and (3) mesophilous grassland. We collected millipedes by litter and soil sifting. There were overall 30 sifted litter and soil samples: 3 habitat types × 2 replicates × 5 soil and litter samples per habitats. We collected 9 millipede species; the most abundant species was Glomeristetrasticha, which was the most abundant species in the forest edge as well. The most abundant species in the forest interior was Kryphioiulusoccultus, while the most abundant species in the grassland was Megaphyllumunilineatum. Our result showed that the number of millipede species was significantly lower in the grassland than in the forest or in the edge, however there were no significant difference in the number of species between the forest interior and the forest edge. We found significantly the highest number of millipede individuals in the forest edge. There were differences in the composition of the millipede assemblages of the three habitats. The results of the DCCA showed that forest edge and forest interior habitats were clearly separated from the grassland habitats. The forest edge habitat was characterized by high air temperature, high soil moisture, high soil pH, high soil enzyme activity, high shrub cover and low canopy cover. The IndVal and the DCCA methods revealed the following character species of the forest edge habitats: Glomeristetrasticha and Leptoiuluscibdellus. Changes in millipede abundance and composition were highly correlated with the vegetation structure.
Project description:A major conservation challenge in mosaic landscapes is to understand how trait-specific responses to habitat edges affect bird communities, including potential cascading effects on bird functions providing ecosystem services to forests, such as pest control. Here, we examined how bird species richness, abundance and community composition varied from interior forest habitats and their edges into adjacent open habitats, within a multi-regional sampling scheme. We further analyzed variations in Conservation Value Index (CVI), Community Specialization Index (CSI) and functional traits across the forest-edge-open habitat gradient. Bird species richness, total abundance and CVI were significantly higher at forest edges while CSI peaked at interior open habitats, i.e., furthest from forest edge. In addition, there were important variations in trait- and species-specific responses to forest edges among bird communities. Positive responses to forest edges were found for several forest bird species with unfavorable conservation status. These species were in general insectivores, understorey gleaners, cavity nesters and long-distance migrants, all traits that displayed higher abundance at forest edges than in forest interiors or adjacent open habitats. Furthermore, consistently with predictions, negative edge effects were recorded in some forest specialist birds and in most open-habitat birds, showing increasing densities from edges to interior habitats. We thus suggest that increasing landscape-scale habitat complexity would be beneficial to declining species living in mosaic landscapes combining small woodlands and open habitats. Edge effects between forests and adjacent open habitats may also favor bird functional guilds providing valuable ecosystem services to forests in longstanding fragmented landscapes.
Project description:Understanding diversity patterns and community structure of bryophytes will help integrate nature conservation at multiple biotic-group levels. We conducted a survey of ground bryophytes in a subtropical forest along an edge-to-interior gradient in South China. We recorded 11 liverwort species from 10 genera of seven families, and 26 moss species from 23 genera of 16 families in three transects. A two-way cluster analysis detected the environmental gradient between the forest edge and forest interior for bryophytes with habitat specificity. Functional diversity of bryophytes differed significantly across an edge-to-interior gradient. The range and median in both structural and functional diversity decreased remarkably from the forest edge to the interior. Multi-response permutation procedures showed significant differences in species composition between the forest-edge and forest-interior, and between the intermediate and forest-interior transects. Seven species were detected with a significant indicator value for indicating environmental conditions in the forest edge, while only one such species was found indicative of the intermediate transect. Our results demonstrate that remarkable edge effects exist for species composition and functional diversity patterns, and the forest edge is a marginal habitat with high biotic heterogeneity. Furthermore, functional diversity metrics are more sensitive to the edge effect than species diversity.
Project description:Clearing of dry forests globally creates edges between remnant forest and open anthropogenic habitats. We used flight intercept traps to evaluate how forest beetle communities are influenced by distance from such edges, together with vertical height, spatial location, and local vegetation structure, in an urbanising region (Brisbane, Australia). Species composition (but not total abundance or richness) differed greatly between ground and canopy. Species composition also varied strongly among sites at both ground and canopy levels, but almost all other significant effects occurred only at ground level, where: species richness declined from edge to interior; composition differed between positions near edges (<10 m) and interiors (> 50 m); high local canopy cover was associated with greater total abundance and richness and differing composition; and greater distances to the city centre were associated with increased total abundances and altered composition. Analyses of individual indicator species associated with this variation enabled further biological interpretations. A global literature synthesis showed that most spatially well-replicated studies of edge effects on ground-level beetles within forest fragments have likewise found that positions within tens of metres from edges with open anthropogenic habitats had increased species richness and different compositions from forest interior sites, with fewer effects on abundance. Accordingly, negative edge effects will not prevent relatively small compact fragments (if >10-20 ha) from supporting forest-like beetle communities, although indirect consequences of habitat degradation remain a threat. Retention of multiple spatially scattered forest areas will also be important in conserving forest-dependent beetles, given high levels of between-site diversity.
Project description:Anthropogenic changes in land use threaten biodiversity and ecosystem functioning by the conversion of natural habitat into agricultural mosaic landscapes, often with drastic consequences for the associated fauna. The first step in the development of efficient conservation plans is to understand movement of animals through complex habitat mosaics. Therefore, we studied ranging behavior and habitat use in Dermanura watsoni (Phyllostomidae), a frugivorous bat species that is a valuable seed disperser in degraded ecosystems. Radio-tracking of sixteen bats showed that the animals strongly rely on natural forest. Day roosts were exclusively located within mature forest fragments. Selection ratios showed that the bats foraged selectively within the available habitat and positively selected natural forest. However, larger daily ranges were associated with higher use of degraded habitats. Home range geometry and composition of focal foraging areas indicated that wider ranging bats performed directional foraging bouts from natural to degraded forest sites traversing the matrix over distances of up to three hundred meters. This behavior demonstrates the potential of frugivorous bats to functionally connect fragmented areas by providing ecosystem services between natural and degraded sites, and highlights the need for conservation of natural habitat patches within agricultural landscapes that meet the roosting requirements of bats.
Project description:Most edges are anthropogenic in origin, but are distinguishable by their maintaining processes (natural vs. continued anthropogenic interventions: forestry, agriculture, urbanization). We hypothesized that the dissimilar edge histories will be reflected in the diversity and assemblage composition of inhabitants. Testing this "history-based edge effect" hypothesis, we evaluated published information on a common insect group, ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) in forest edges. A meta-analysis showed that the diversity-enhancing properties of edges significantly differed according to their history. Forest edges maintained by natural processes had significantly higher species richness than their interiors, while edges with continued anthropogenic influence did not. The filter function of edges was also essentially different depending on their history. For forest specialist species, edges maintained by natural processes were penetrable, allowing these species to move right through the edges, while edges still under anthropogenic interventions were impenetrable, preventing the dispersal of forest specialists out of the forest. For species inhabiting the surrounding matrix (open-habitat and generalist species), edges created by forestry activities were penetrable, and such species also invaded the forest interior. However, natural forest edges constituted a barrier and prevented the invasion of matrix species into the forest interior. Preserving and protecting all edges maintained by natural processes, and preventing anthropogenic changes to their structure, composition, and characteristics are key factors to sustain biodiversity in forests. Moreover, the increasing presence of anthropogenic edges in a landscape is to be avoided, as they contribute to the loss of biodiversity. Simultaneously, edges under continued anthropogenic disturbance should be restored by increasing habitat heterogeneity.
Project description:Habitat edges are a ubiquitous feature of modern fragmented landscapes, but a tendency for researchers to restrict sampling designs to relatively small spatial scales means that edge effects are known to influence faunal communities over small spatial scales of only 20-250 m. However, we found striking changes in the abundance and community composition of 769 New Zealand beetle species ( approximately 26,000 individuals) across very long edge gradients. We show that almost 90% of species respond significantly to habitat edges and that the abundances of 20% of common species were affected by edges at scales >250 m. Moreover, as many as one in eight common species had edge effects that appeared to penetrate as far as 1 km into habitat patches. Even 1 km inside forest, beetle communities differed in species richness, beta-diversity (spatial turnover), and composition from the deep forest interior. Spatially explicit models of fragmented landscapes have shown that such large-scale edge effects can lead to an 80% reduction in the population size of interior forest species in even very large fragments. Moreover, such large-scale edge effects can drive species that inhabit central habitat core-which are among the most threatened species in fragmented landscapes-to local extinction from habitat fragments and protected areas. In a global analysis of protected areas, we show that kilometer-scale edge effects may compromise the ability of more than three-quarters of the world's forested reserves to conserve the community biostructures that are unique to forest interiors.
Project description:Deforestation and fragmentation of tropical rainforests are increasingly creating forest edges and corresponding edge effects. Furthermore, primary forest is increasingly being replaced by secondary forest. The presence of high population densities of titi monkeys in fragmented and secondary forests suggests that they are capable of adapting to such habitat alterations. The aim of our study was to examine the ability of the red titi monkey (Callicebus cupreus) to adapt to forest edges and secondary forest. We compared home-range use, activity budgets, and diet composition in two groups of monkeys: one in primary forest and the other in primary forest with a long edge bordering secondary forest. The latter group avoided the secondary forest and used the edge in proportion to its availability. Groups did not differ in activity budgets but did show slight differences in diet composition. Taken together, our results suggest that there are no major effects of forest edges and secondary forest on red titi monkeys; however, given the relatively short study period, generalizations should be avoided until more comparative data become available. Furthermore, the age or successional stage of the secondary forest must be taken into consideration when drawing conclusions about its suitability as a primate habitat.
Project description:Agricultural practices lead to losses of natural resources and biodiversity. Maintaining forests alongside streams (riparian forest strips) has been used as a mechanism to minimize the impact of clearing for agriculture on biodiversity. To test the contribution of riparian forest strips to conserve biodiversity in production landscapes, we selected bats as a biodiversity model system and examined two dimensions of diversity: taxonomic and functional. We compared bat diversity and composition in forest, with and without stream habitat, and in narrow forest riparian strips surrounded by areas cleared for agriculture. We tested the hypothesis that riparian forest strips provide potential conservation value by providing habitat and serving as movement corridors for forest bat species. Riparian forest strips maintained 75% of the bat species registered in forested habitats. We found assemblage in sites with riparian forest strips were dominated by a few species with high abundance and included several species with low abundance. Bat species assemblage was more similar between sites with streams than between those sites to forests without stream habitat. These results highlight the importance of stream habitat in predicting presence of bat species. We registered similar number of guilds between forest sites and riparian forest strips sites. Relative to matrix habitats, stream and edge habitats in riparian forest strips sites were functionally more diverse, supporting our hypothesis about the potential conservation value of riparian forest strips. Results from this study suggest that maintaining riparian forest strips within cleared areas for agricultural areas helps conserve the taxonomic and functional diversity of bats. Also, it provides basic data to evaluate the efficacy of maintaining these landscape features for mitigating impacts of agricultural development on biodiversity. However, we caution that riparian forest strips alone are not sufficient for biodiversity maintenance; their value depends on maintenance of larger forest areas in their vicinity.