Predicting biodiversity change and averting collapse in agricultural landscapes

Mendenhall, Chase D.; Karp, Daniel S.; Meyer, Christoph F. J.; Hadly, Elizabeth A.; Daily, Gretchen C.
May 2014
Nature;5/8/2014, Vol. 509 Issue 7499, p213
Academic Journal
The equilibrium theory of island biogeography is the basis for estimating extinction rates and a pillar of conservation science. The default strategy for conserving biodiversity is the designation of nature reserves, treated as islands in an inhospitable sea of human activity. Despite the profound influence of islands on conservation theory and practice, their mainland analogues, forest fragments in human-dominated landscapes, consistently defy expected biodiversity patterns based on island biogeography theory. Countryside biogeography is an alternative framework, which recognizes that the fate of the world's wildlife will be decided largely by the hospitality of agricultural or countryside ecosystems. Here we directly test these biogeographic theories by comparing a Neotropical countryside ecosystem with a nearby island ecosystem, and show that each supports similar bat biodiversity in fundamentally different ways. The island ecosystem conforms to island biogeographic predictions of bat species loss, in which the water matrix is not habitat. In contrast, the countryside ecosystem has high species richness and evenness across forest reserves and smaller forest fragments. Relative to forest reserves and fragments, deforested countryside habitat supports a less species-rich, yet equally even, bat assemblage. Moreover, the bat assemblage associated with deforested habitat is compositionally novel because of predictable changes in abundances by many species using human-made habitat. Finally, we perform a global meta-analysis of bat biogeographic studies, spanning more than 700 species. It generalizes our findings, showing that separate biogeographic theories for countryside and island ecosystems are necessary. A theory of countryside biogeography is essential to conservation strategy in the agricultural ecosystems that comprise roughly half of the global land surface and are likely to increase even further.


Related Articles

  • The "De-extinction" Movement. Scheer, Roddy; Moss, Doug // E THIS WEEK;3/17/2013, p8 

    The article provides an answer to a question about de-extinction movement.

  • What Does It Mean to Successfully Conserve a (Vertebrate) Species? Redford, Kent H.; Amato, George; Baillie, Jonathan; Beldomenico, Pablo; Bennett, Elizabeth L.; Clum, Nancy; Cook, Robert; Fonseca, Gustavo; Hedges, Simon; Launay, Frederic; Lieberman, Susan; Mace, Georgina M.; Murayama, Akira; Putnam, Andrea; Robinson, John G.; Rosenbaum, Howard; Sanderson, Eric W.; Stuart, Simon N.; Thomas, Patrick; Thorbjarnarson, John // BioScience;Jan2011, Vol. 61 Issue 1, p39 

    The conservation of species is one of the foundations of conservation biology. Successful species conservation has often been defined as simply the avoidance of extinction. We argue that this focus, although important, amounts to practicing conservation at the "emergency room door," and will...

  • Part V: Conservation Biology. Wilcove, David S. // Princeton Guide to Ecology;2009, p511 

    Part V of the book "The Princeton Guide to Ecology," edited by Simon A. Levin is presented. It explores the aspects of conservation biology and the causes of species extinction, one of the most visible manifestations of biodiversity loss. It discusses the functions of population viability...

  • Methods and applications of population viability analysis (PVA): A review. Tian Yu; Wu Jian-Guo; Kou Xiao-Jun; Wang Tian-Ming; Smith, Andrew T.; Ge Jian-Ping // Yingyong Shengtai Xuebao;Jan2011, Vol. 22 Issue 1, p257 

    With the accelerating human consumption of natural resources, the problems associated with endangered species caused by habitat loss and fragmentation have become greater and more urgent than ever. Conceptually associated with the theories of island biogeography, population viability analysis...

  • Protected areas of Borneo fail to protect forest landscapes with high habitat connectivity. Proctor, Sarah; McClean, Colin; Hill, Jane // Biodiversity & Conservation;Nov2011, Vol. 20 Issue 12, p2693 

    Throughout the world, previously extensive areas of natural habitats have been degraded and fragmented, and improving habitat connectivity may help the long-term persistence of species, and their ability to adapt to climate changes. We focused on Borneo, where many remaining areas of tropical...

  • What can sown wildflower strips contribute to butterfly conservation?: an example from a Swiss lowland agricultural landscape. Haaland, Christine; Bersier, Louis-Félix // Journal of Insect Conservation;Apr2011, Vol. 15 Issue 1/2, p301 

    The objective of this study was to compare butterfly abundances and diversity between wildflower strips and extensively used meadows to identify which butterfly species can be supported by establishing wildflower strips. Butterflies were recorded along transects during one season in twenty-five...

  • Habitat Specificity and Variation of Coleopteran Assemblages Between Habitats in a Southern African (Swaziland) Agricultural Landscape. C. Magagula // Biodiversity & Conservation;Jan2006, Vol. 15 Issue 1, p453 

    Assessment of Coleopteran diversity and abundance was carried out in the lowveld region of Swaziland by pitfall trapping in five distinct habitats. Additionally, the study was to ascertain if any of the families collected illustrated habitat fidelity. 18 coleopteran families, comprising 2903...

  • Agricultural Landscapes and Biodiversity Conservation in Italy. BLASI, Carlo; FRONDONI, Raffaella; ZAVATTERO, Laura // Bulletin of the University of Agricultural Sciences & Veterinary;2012, Vol. 69 Issue 1, p81 

    In the last decades, agricultural areas have been acknowledged as important areas for biodiversity conservation and provision of ecosystem services. Several international and national Conventions have promoted the development of multifunctional agriculture and the maintenance of traditional...

  • Cry shame on all humanity. Bowman, David // New Scientist;11/19/94, Vol. 144 Issue 1952, p59 

    Comments on the disappearance of numerous species of animals and plants due to the destructive activities of humans. Loss of biodiversity; Impossibility for conservation of all present forms of life given the growth of human populations and desire for raised standards of living; Factors that...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics