Species composition and diversity of ground bryophytes across a forest edge-to-interior gradient.
ABSTRACT: 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:Semiochemical-baited intercept traps are important tools used to collect information about the presence/absence and population dynamics of forest insects. The performance of these tools is influenced by trap location along both horizontal edge-interior and vertical understory-canopy gradients. Consequently, the development of survey and detection programs requires both the development of effective traps and semiochemical lures but also deployment protocols to guide their use. We used field trapping experiments to examine the impact of both horizontal edge-interior and vertical understory-canopy gradients and their interactions with the species richness and abundance of Buprestidae, Cerambycidae and Curculionidae. Both gradients had significant effects on the diversity and abundance of all three families collected in traps and the pattern of gradient effects differed between the two experiments. In the first experiment, traps were deployed along transects involving large (>100 m) forest gaps and in the second experiment traps transected small (ca. 15 m) forest gaps. These results were consistent with the idea that gradient effects on the abundance and diversity of these three families of forest Coleoptera are context dependent. The results of this study suggest that monitoring programs for bark and woodboring beetles should deploy traps at multiple locations along both vertical understory-canopy and horizontal edge-interior gradients.
Project description: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:Edge effects are ubiquitous landscape processes influencing over 70% of forest cover worldwide. However, little is known about how edge effects influence the vertical stratification of communities in forest fragments. We combined a spatially implicit and a spatially explicit approach to quantify the magnitude and extent of edge effects on canopy and understorey epiphytic plants in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. Within the human-modified landscape, species richness, species abundance and community composition remained practically unchanged along the interior-edge gradient, pointing to severe biotic homogenisation at all strata. This is because the extent of edge effects reached at least 500 m, potentially leaving just 0.24% of the studied landscape unaffected by edges. We extrapolated our findings to the entire Atlantic Forest and found that just 19.4% of the total existing area is likely unaffected by edge effects and provide suitable habitat conditions for forest-dependent epiphytes. Our results suggest that the resources provided by the current forest cover might be insufficient to support the future of epiphyte communities. Preserving large continuous 'intact' forests is probably the only effective conservation strategy for vascular epiphytes.
Project description:Epiphytic vascular plants are common species in humid tropical forests. Epiphytes are influenced by abiotic and biotic variables, but little is known about the relative importance of direct and indirect effects on epiphyte distribution. We surveyed 70 transects (10 m × 50 m) along an elevation gradient (180 m-1521 m) and sampled all vascular epiphytes and trees in a typical tropical forest on Hainan Island, south China. The direct and indirect effects of abiotic factors (climatic and edaphic) and tree community characteristics on epiphytes species diversity were examined. The abundance and richness of vascular epiphytes generally showed a unimodal curve with elevation and reached maximum value at ca. 1300 m. The species composition in transects from high elevation (above 1200 m) showed a more similar assemblage. Climate explained the most variation in epiphytes species diversity followed by tree community characteristics and soil features. Overall, climate (relative humidity) and tree community characteristics (tree size represented by basal area) had the strongest direct effects on epiphyte diversity while soil variables (soil water content and available phosphorus) mainly had indirect effects. Our study suggests that air humidity is the most important abiotic while stand basal area is the most important biotic determinants of epiphyte diversity along the tropical elevational gradient.
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:Edge effects represent an inevitable and important consequence of habitat loss and fragmentation. These effects include changes in microclimate, solar radiation, or temperature. Such abiotic effects can, in turn, impact biotic factors. They can have a substantial impact on species, communities, and ecosystems. Here we examine clinal variations in stable carbon and nitrogen isotope values for trees along an edge-interior gradient in the dry deciduous forest at Ankarafantsika National Park. We predicted that soil respiration and differences in solar irradiance would result in stratified ?¹³C values where leaves collected close to the forest floor would have lower ?¹³C values than those growing higher up in the canopy. We also anticipated that plants growing at the savannah-forest boundary would have higher ?¹³C and ?¹?N values than plants growing in the forest interior. As expected, we detected a small but significant canopy effect. Leaves growing below 2 m from the forest floor exhibit ?¹³C values that are, on average, 1.1‰ lower than those growing above this threshold. We did not, however, find any relationship between foliar ?¹³C and distance from the edge. Unpredictably, we detected a striking positive relationship between foliar ?¹?N values and increasing distance into the forest interior. Variability in physiology among species, anthropogenic influence, organic input, and rooting depth cannot adequately explain this trend. Instead, this unexpected relationship most likely reflects decreasing nutrient or water availability, or a shift in N-sources with increasing distance from the savannah. Unlike most forest communities, the trees at Ampijoroa are growing in nutrient-limited sands. In addition to being nutrient poor, these well-drained soils likely decrease the amount of soil water available to forest vegetation. Continued research on plant responses to edge effects will improve our understanding of the conservation biology of forest ecosystems in Madagascar.
Project description:Elucidating the major drivers of bryophyte distribution is the first step to protecting bryophyte diversity. Topography, forest, substrates (ground, tree trunks, roots, rocks, and rotten wood), and spatial factor, which factors are the major drivers of bryophyte distribution? In this study, 53 plots were set in 400 m2 along the elevation gradient in Xiaoqinling, China. All bryophytes in the plots were collected and identified. Regression analysis was used to examine the relationship between bryophyte and substrate diversity. We compared the patterns of overall bryophyte diversity and diversity of bryophytes found on the ground, tree, and rock along elevational gradients. Canonical correspondence analysis was applied to relate species composition to selected environmental variables. The importance of topography, forest, substrates, and spatial factors was determined by variance partitioning. A total of 1378 bryophyte specimens were collected, and 240 species were identified. Bryophyte diversity was closely related to substrate diversity. The overall bryophyte diversity significantly increased with elevation; however, the response varied among ground, tree, and rock bryophytes. Tree diversity and herb layer were considered important environmental factors in determining bryophyte distribution. Species abundance was best explained by stand structure (17%), and species diversity was best explained by stand structure (35%) and substrate (40%). Results directly indicated that substrate diversity can improve bryophyte species diversity. The effects of micro-habitat formed by stand structure and substrate diversity were higher than those of spatial processes and topography factors on bryophyte distribution. This study proved that the determinant factors influencing bryophyte diversity reflect the trends in recent forest management, providing a real opportunity to improve forest biodiversity conservation.
Project description:Edge effects alter insect biodiversity in several ways. However, we still have a limited understanding on simultaneous responses of ecological populations and assemblages to ecotones, especially in human modified landscapes. We analyze edge effects on dung beetle populations and assemblages between livestock pastures and native temperate forests (<i>Juniperus</i> and pine-oak forests (POFs)) to describe how species abundances and assemblage parameters respond to edge effects through gradients in forest-pasture ecotones. In <i>Juniperus</i> forest 13 species avoided the ecotones: six species showed greater abundance in forest interior and seven in pasturelands, while the other two species had a neutral response to the edge. In a different way, in POF we found five species avoiding the edge (four with greater abundance in pastures and only one in forest), two species had a neutral response, and two showed a unimodal pattern of abundance near to the edge. At the assemblage level edge effects are masked, as species richness, diversity, functional richness, functional evenness, and compositional incidence dissimilarity did not vary along forest-pasture ecotones. However, total abundance and functional divergence showed higher values in pastures in one of the two sampling localities. Also, assemblage similarity based on species' abundance showed a peak near to the edge in POF. We propose that conservation efforts in human-managed landscapes should focus on mitigating current and delayed edge effects. Ecotone management will be crucial in livestock dominated landscapes to conserve regional biodiversity and the environmental services carried out by dung beetles.
Project description:Bryophytes have been proposed as ideal indicators of ecosystem change, because they are important components of forest integrity, and considerable research indicates that some groups are sensitive to the changes associated with specific human disturbances. Bryophyte richness and abundance have been found to vary predictably along elevational gradients, but the role of human impacts on these distribution patterns remains unclear. The aim of this study is to explore the impact of human disturbance on the elevational patterns of bryophyte diversity, along an elevational gradient. Along the gradient we collected three datasets in the following sites: preserved (P), forest track roadsides (R) and disturbed by agriculture/silviculture practices (D). Two survey plots of 100 m2 were established at every 200 m elevational step for each sites P, R, D, and in each plot bryophytes were sampled in a stratified manner. At each plot we recorded all species on available substrates and estimated their percentage cover. Our results showed that species number did not differ among studied sites, but that species diversity pattern differs among the three gradient types and species life strategy composition along the elevational gradient showed a clear response to the disturbance of mature communities. We conclude that human impact has strongly changed the elevational pattern of diversity, and that these changes vary depending on the ecological and taxonomical group considered.
Project description:Understanding and managing pollination service is hindered by taxonomic impediments and paucity of data, particularly in the tropics. Herein we apply integrative species delineation and taxonomy to test impacts of land use on the diversity of bee communities within Xishuangbanna (Yunnan, south China), a highly biodiverse tropical region which has undergone extensive land conversion to rubber plantation. 128 Operational Taxonomic Units (OTU) were inferred by an iterative and integrative approach. Bee activity differed significantly across land use samples, although community composition corresponded more to level of vegetation density, when accounting for spatial structure. Species diversity was high in young rubber plantations, although composition overlapped with other species-rich habitats (natural forest edge and river banks), and older plantations (>8 years) showed very low diversity under all measures. Community structures were similar between the natural forest interior and edge, although analysis indicated contrasting drivers of diversity, with clustering in the interior and overdispersion in the forest edge. Further, phylogenetic diversity and derived indices were underestimated when reference data were omitted from analysis. The description of bee communities herein permits more informed choices in land management with respect to ensuring continuation of essential services by bees.