Temporal bird community dynamics are strongly affected by landscape fragmentation in a Central American tropical forest region

Biodiversity and Conservation
By: , and 

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Abstract

Habitat loss and fragmentation are considered the main causes of species extinctions, particularly in tropical ecosystems. The objective of this work was to evaluate the temporal dynamics of tropical bird communities in landscapes with different levels of fragmentation in eastern Guatemala. We evaluated five bird community dynamic parameters for forest specialists and generalists: (1) species extinction, (2) species turnover, (3) number of colonizing species, (4) relative species richness, and (5) a homogeneity index. For each of 24 landscapes, community dynamic parameters were estimated from bird point count data, for the 1998–1999 and 2008–2009 periods, accounting for species’ detection probability. Forest specialists had higher extinction rates and a smaller number of colonizing species in landscapes with higher fragmentation, thus having lower species richness in both time periods. Alternatively, forest generalists elicited a completely different pattern, showing a curvilinear association to forest fragmentation for most parameters. Thus, greater community dynamism for forest generalists was shown in landscapes with intermediate levels of fragmentation. Our study supports general theory regarding the expected negative effects of habitat loss and fragmentation on the temporal dynamics of biotic communities, particularly for forest specialists, providing strong evidence from understudied tropical bird communities.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Temporal bird community dynamics are strongly affected by landscape fragmentation in a Central American tropical forest region
Series title Biodiversity and Conservation
DOI 10.1007/s10531-016-1049-2
Volume 25
Issue 2
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description 20 p.
First page 311
Last page 330
Country Guatemala
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N