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Measuring habitat heterogeneity reveals new insights into bird community composition

Stirnemann, Ingrid; Stagoll (Ikin), Karen; Gibbons, Philip; Blanchard, Wade; Lindenmayer, David B

Description

Fine-scale vegetation cover is a common variable used to explain animal occurrence, but we know less about the effects of fine-scale vegetation heterogeneity. Theoretically, fine-scale vegetation heterogeneity is an important driver of biodiversity because it captures the range of resources available in a given area. In this study we investigated how bird species richness and birds grouped by various ecological traits responded to vegetation cover and heterogeneity. We found that both...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorStirnemann, Ingrid
dc.contributor.authorStagoll (Ikin), Karen
dc.contributor.authorGibbons, Philip
dc.contributor.authorBlanchard, Wade
dc.contributor.authorLindenmayer, David B
dc.date.accessioned2015-12-07T22:52:48Z
dc.identifier.issn0029-8549
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/27584
dc.description.abstractFine-scale vegetation cover is a common variable used to explain animal occurrence, but we know less about the effects of fine-scale vegetation heterogeneity. Theoretically, fine-scale vegetation heterogeneity is an important driver of biodiversity because it captures the range of resources available in a given area. In this study we investigated how bird species richness and birds grouped by various ecological traits responded to vegetation cover and heterogeneity. We found that both fine-scale vegetation cover (of tall trees, medium-sized trees and shrubs) and heterogeneity (of tall trees, and shrubs) were important predictors of bird richness, but the direction of the response of bird richness to shrub heterogeneity differed between sites with different proportions of tall tree cover. For example, bird richness increased with shrub heterogeneity in sites with high levels of tall tree cover, but declined in sites with low levels of tall tree cover. Our findings indicated that an increase in vegetation heterogeneity will not always result in an increase in resources and niches, and associated higher species richness. We also found birds grouped by traits responded in a predictable way to vegetation heterogeneity. For example, we found small birds benefited from increased shrub heterogeneity supporting the textual discontinuity hypothesis and non-arboreal (ground or shrub) nesting species were associated with high vegetation cover (low heterogeneity). Our results indicated that focusing solely on increasing vegetation cover (e.g. through restoration) may be detrimental to particular animal groups. Findings from this investigation can help guide habitat management for different functional groups of birds.
dc.language.isoen_AU
dc.publisherSpringer
dc.sourceOecologia
dc.titleMeasuring habitat heterogeneity reveals new insights into bird community composition
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.identifier.citationvolume117
dc.date.issued2014
local.identifier.absfor050104 - Landscape Ecology
local.identifier.ariespublicationu4224061xPUB52
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationStirnemann, Ingrid, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationStagoll (Ikin), Karen, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationGibbons, Philip, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationBlanchard, Wade, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationLindenmayer, David, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, ANU
local.description.embargo2037-12-31
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage733
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage746
local.identifier.doi10.1007/s00442-014-3134-0
local.identifier.absseo960806 - Forest and Woodlands Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity
dc.date.updated2015-12-07T12:33:01Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-84910088217
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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