Edge responses are different in edges under natural versus anthropogenic influence: a meta-analysis using ground beetles.
ABSTRACT: 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:Many natural systems are subject to profound and persistent anthropogenic influence. Human-induced gene movement through afforestation and the selective transportation of genotypes might enhance the potential for intraspecific hybridization, which could lead to outbreeding depression. However, the evolutionary legacy of afforestation on the spatial genetic structure of forest tree species has barely been investigated. To do this properly, the effects of anthropogenic and natural processes must be examined simultaneously. A multidisciplinary approach, integrating phylogeography, population genetics, species distribution modeling, and niche divergence would permit evaluation of potential anthropogenic impacts, such as mass planting near-native material. Here, these approaches were applied to <i>Pinus armandii</i>, a Chinese endemic coniferous tree species, that has been mass planted across its native range. Population genetic analyses showed that natural populations of <i>P. armandii</i> comprised three lineages that diverged around the late Miocene, during a period of massive uplifts of the Hengduan Mountains, and intensification of Asian Summer Monsoon. Only limited gene flow was detected between lineages, indicating that each largely maintained is genetic integrity. Moreover, most or all planted populations were found to have been sourced within the same region, minimizing disruption of large-scale spatial genetic structure within <i>P. armandii</i>. This might be because each of the three lineages had a distinct climatic niche, according to ecological niche modeling and niche divergence tests. The current study provides empirical genetic and ecological evidence for the site-species matching principle in forestry and will be useful to manage restoration efforts by identifying suitable areas and climates for introducing and planting new forests. Our results also highlight the urgent need to evaluate the genetic impacts of large-scale afforestation in other native tree species.
Project description:The increased abundance of large carnivores in Europe is a conservation success, but the impact on the behavior and population dynamics of prey species is generally unknown. In Europe, the recolonization of large carnivores often occurs in areas where humans have greatly modified the landscape through forestry or agriculture. Currently, we poorly understand the effects of recolonizing large carnivores on extant prey species in anthropogenic landscapes. Here, we investigated if ungulate prey species showed innate responses to the scent of a regionally exterminated but native large carnivore, and whether the responses were affected by human-induced habitat openness. We experimentally introduced brown bear Ursus arctos scent to artificial feeding sites and used camera traps to document the responses of three sympatric ungulate species. In addition to controls without scent, reindeer scent Rangifer tarandus was used as a noncarnivore, novel control scent. Fallow deer Dama dama strongly avoided areas with bear scent. In the presence of bear scent, all ungulate species generally used open sites more than closed sites, whereas the opposite was observed at sites with reindeer scent or without scent. The opening of forest habitat by human practices, such as forestry and agriculture, creates a larger gradient in habitat openness than available in relatively unaffected closed forest systems, which may create opportunities for prey to alter their habitat selection and reduce predation risk in human-modified systems that do not exist in more natural forest systems. Increased knowledge about antipredator responses in areas subjected to anthropogenic change is important because these responses may affect prey population dynamics, lower trophic levels, and attitudes toward large carnivores. These aspects may be of particular relevance in the light of the increasing wildlife populations across much of Europe.
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:Increasing deforestation worldwide has expanded the interfaces between fragmented forests and non-forest habitats. Human-made edges are very different from the original forest cover, with different microclimatic conditions. Conversely, the natural transitions (i.e., ecotones) are distinct from human-made forest edges. The human-made forest edges are usually sharp associated with disturbances, with abrupt changes in temperature, humidity, luminosity and wind incidence towards the forest interior. However, the natural forest-lake ecotones, even when abrupt, are composed of a complex vegetal physiognomy, with canopy structures close to the ground level and a composition of herbaceous and arboreal species well adapted to this transition range. In the present study, fruit-feeding butterflies were used as models to investigate whether faunal assemblages in natural ecotones are more similar to the forest interior than to the anthropic edges. Butterflies were sampled monthly over one year in the Rio Doce State Park, Southeastern Brazil, following a standardized design using a total of 90 bait traps, in three different forest habitats (forest interior, forest ecotone and anthropic edges), in both canopy and understory. A total of 11,594 individuals from 98 butterfly species were collected (3,151 individuals from 79 species in the forest interior, 4,321 individuals from 87 species in the ecotone and 4,122 individuals from 83 species in the edge). The results indicated that the butterfly richness and diversity were higher in transition areas (ecotones and edges). The ecotone included a combination of butterfly species from the forest interior and from anthropic edges. However, species composition and dominance in the ecotone were similar to the forest interior in both vertical strata. These results suggest that human made forest edges are quite distinct from ecotones. Moreover, ecotones represent unique habitats accommodating species adapted to distinct ecological conditions, while anthropic edges accommodate only opportunistic species from open areas or upper canopies.
Project description:Many carnivores are threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation. These changes create linear features and habitat edges that can facilitate foraging and/or travel. To understand the significance of anthropogenic linear features in the ecology of carnivores, fine-scaled studies are needed. We studied two medium-sized carnivores: the endangered Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) and the near threatened spotted-tailed quoll (Dasyurus maculatus), in a mixed landscape of conservation and agricultural land. Using GPS tracking, we investigated their use of intact habitat versus linear features such as roads, fences and the pasture/cover interface. Both species showed a positive selection for anthropogenic linear features, using the pasture/cover interface for foraging and roads for movement and foraging. Devils travelled along fence lines, while quolls showed little preference for them. Otherwise, both species foraged in forest and travelled through pasture. While devils and quolls can utilise anthropogenic linear features, we suggest that their continued survival in these habitats may depend on the intensity of other threats, e.g. persecution, and providing that sufficient intact habitat remains to sustain their ecological needs. We suggest that the management of both species and probably many other species of carnivores should focus on controlling mortality factors associated with human use of landscapes.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Assessing cumulative effects of anthropogenic and natural disturbances on forest carbon (C) stocks and fluxes, because of their relevance to climate change, is a requirement of environmental impact assessments (EIAs) in Canada. However, tools have not been developed specifically for these purposes, and in particular for the boreal forest of Canada, so current forest C assessments in EIAs take relatively simple approaches. Here, we demonstrate how an existing tool, the Generic Carbon Budget Model (GCBM), developed for national and international forest C reporting, was used for an assessment of the cumulative effects of anthropogenic and natural disturbances to support EIA requirements. We applied the GCBM to approximately 1.3 million ha of upland forest in a pilot study area of the oil sands region of Alberta that has experienced a large number of anthropogenic (forestry, energy sector) and natural (wildfire, insect) disturbances.<h4>Results</h4>Over the 28 years, 25% of the pilot study area was disturbed. Increasing disturbance emissions, combined with declining net primary productivity and reductions in forest area, changed the study area from a net C sink to a net C source. Forest C stocks changed from 332.2 Mt to 327.5 Mt, declining by 4.7 Mt at an average rate of 0.128 tC ha<sup>-1</sup> yr<sup>-1</sup>. The largest cumulative areas of disturbance were caused by wildfire (139,000 ha), followed by the energy sector (110,000 ha), insects (33,000 ha) and harvesting (31,000 ha) but the largest cumulative disturbance emissions were caused by the energy sector (9.5 Mt C), followed by wildfire (5.5 Mt C), and then harvesting (1.3 Mt C).<h4>Conclusion</h4>An existing forest C model was used successfully to provide a rigorous regional cumulative assessment of anthropogenic and natural disturbances on forest C, which meets requirements of EIAs in Canada. The assessment showed the relative importance of disturbances on C emissions in the pilot study area, but their relative importance is expected to change in other parts of the oil sands region because of its diversity in disturbance types, patterns and intensity. Future assessments should include peatland C stocks and fluxes, which could be addressed by using the Canadian Model for Peatlands.
Project description:This paper analyzes how sustained yield (SY) forestry is defined and implemented in Sweden and Russia, two countries with different forest-industrial regimes. We first compare definitions of SY forestry in national legislation and policies. Then we study forest management planning in two large forest management units with respect to: delivered forest products and values, how the harvest level of timber is defined, where the harvest takes place, and what treatments are used to sustain desired forest products and values. In Sweden SY forestry is maximum yield based on high-input forest management, and in Russia it is forestry based on natural regeneration with minimum investments in silviculture. We conclude that how SY forestry contributes to SFM depends on the context. Finally, we discuss the consequences of SY forestry as performed in Sweden and Russia related to its ability to support diverse forest functions, as envisioned in sustainable forest management policy.
Project description:Current biodiversity loss is mostly caused by anthropogenic habitat loss and fragmentation, climate change, and resource exploitation. Measuring the balance of species loss and gain in remaining fragmented landscapes throughout time entails a central research challenge. We resurveyed in 2013 plant species richness in the same plots of a previous sampling conducted in 2003 across 18 forest fragments of different sizes of the Chaco Serrano forest in Argentina. While the area of these forest remnants was kept constant, their surrounding forest cover changed over this time period. We compared plant species richness of both sampling years and calculated the proportion of species loss and gain at forest edges and interiors. As in 2003, we found a positive relationship between fragment area and plant richness in 2013 and both years showed a similar slope. However, we detected a net decrease of 24% of species' richness across all forest fragments, implying an unprecedentedly high rate and magnitude of species loss driven mainly by non-woody, short-lived species. There was a higher proportion of lost and gained species at forest edges than in forest interiors. Importantly, fragment area interacted with percent change in surrounding forest cover to explain the proportion of species lost. Small forest fragments showed a relatively constant proportion of species loss regardless of any changes in surrounding forest cover, whereas in larger fragments the proportion of species lost increased when surrounding forest cover decreased. We show that despite preserving fragment area, habitat quality and availability in the surroundings is of fundamental importance in shaping extinction and immigration dynamics of plant species at any given forest remnant. Because the Chaco Serrano forest has already lost 94% of its original cover, we argue that plant extinctions will continue through the coming decades unless active management actions are taken to increase native forest areas.
Project description:Thirty years ago, there was a monograph of vegetation and plant diversity in the region prepared by the Department of Forestry at the Northeast Forestry University (unpublished), but the variety of plants in the region has changed significantly over the past 30 years. In future years, the authors hope to publish a new monograph and this research is to prepare for this work. This study aimed at reporting the characteristics of plant diversity in five different forest types in Liangshui National Natural Reserve, China, each with three 25 × 25 m tree quadrats, twelve 5 × 5 m wide shrub quadrats and twelve 1 × 1 m wide herbaceous quadrats. Censuses of each forest type were conducted in 2016.The five main forest types presented differences in structure, diversity and species richness.
Project description:Edges have become prevailing habitats, mainly as a result of habitat fragmentation and agricultural expansion. The interchange of functionally relevant organisms like insects occurs through these edges and can influence ecosystem functioning in both crop and non-crop habitats. However, very few studies have focused on the directionality of insect movement through edges, and the role of crop and non-crop amount has been ignored. Using bi-directional flight interception traps we investigated interchange of herbivore, natural enemy, pollinator and detritivore insects between native forest fragments and soybean crops, simultaneously considering movement direction, forest cover in the landscape and crop phenology. In total, 52,173 specimens and 877 morphospecies were collected. We found that, within most functional and taxonomic groups, movement intensity was similar (richness and/or abundance) between directions, whereas a predominantly forest-to-crop movement characterized natural enemies. Insect movement was extensively affected by crop phenology, decreasing during crop senescence, and was enhanced by forest cover particularly at senescence. Mainly the same herbivore species moved to and from the forest, but different natural enemy species predominated in each direction. Finally, our analyses revealed greater forest contribution to natural enemy than to herbivore communities in the crop, fading with distance to the forest in both groups. By showing that larger amounts of forest lead to richer insect interchange, in both directions and in four functional groups, our study suggests that allocation to natural and cultivated habitats at landscape level could influence functioning of both systems. Moreover, natural enemies seemed to benefit more than pests from natural vegetation, with natural enemy spillover from forests likely contributing to pest control in soybean fields. Thus consequences of insect interchange seem to be mostly positive for the agroecosystem, although consequences for the natural system deserve further study.