Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Appears in Collections:Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Bird-community responses to habitat creation in a long-term, large-scale natural experiment
Author(s): Whytock, Robin
Fuentes-Montemayor, Elisa
Watts, Kevin
De Andrade, Patanjaly Barbosa
Whytock, Rory
French, Paul
Macgregor, Nicholas
Park, Kirsty
Contact Email:
Keywords: Land-use change
Conservation planning
Ecological network
Issue Date: Apr-2018
Date Deposited: 7-Jul-2017
Citation: Whytock R, Fuentes-Montemayor E, Watts K, De Andrade PB, Whytock R, French P, Macgregor N & Park K (2018) Bird-community responses to habitat creation in a long-term, large-scale natural experiment. Conservation Biology, 32 (2), pp. 345-354.
Abstract: Ecosystem function and resilience are compromised when habitats become fragmented due to land-use change. This has led to national and international conservation strategies aimed at restoring habitat extent and improving functional connectivity (i.e. maintaining dispersal processes). However, biodiversity responses to landscape-scale habitat creation and the relative importance of spatial and temporal scales is poorly understood, and there is disagreement over which conservation strategies should be prioritised. Addressing these knowledge gaps has been challenging because (1) there can be a significant time lag between habitat creation and biodiversity responses, and (2) many taxa respond to landscape characteristics over large spatial scales. These conditions can be difficult to replicate in a controlled setting but can be simulated using ‘natural’ experiments. Here, we used 160 years of historic post-agricultural woodland creation as a natural experiment to evaluate biodiversity responses to landscape-scale habitat creation. Specifically, we disentangle the direct and indirect relationships between bird abundance and diversity, ecological continuity, patch characteristics and landscape structure, and quantify the relative importance of local and landscape scales. Results suggest that ecological continuity has an indirect effect on total bird species richness through its direct effects on stand structure. However, for functional groups most closely associated with woodland habitats, ecological continuity had little influence. This was probably because woodlands were rapidly colonised by woodland generalists in < 10 years (the minimum patch age), but were on average too young (median 50 years) to be colonised by woodland specialists. Local, patch characteristics were relatively more important than landscape characteristics. We conclude that biodiversity responses to habitat creation are dependent on local and landscape-scale factors that interact across time and space. We also suggest that knowledge gained from studies of habitat fragmentation/loss should be used to inform habitat creation with caution, since the two are not necessarily reciprocal.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
DOI Link: 10.1111/cobi.12983
Rights: © 2017 The Authors. Conservation Biology published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of Society for Conservation Biology. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Licence URL(s):

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Whytock et al_SupportingInformation_FINAL.pdfFulltext - Accepted Version437.23 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
Whytock_et_al-2018-Conservation_Biology.pdfFulltext - Published Version739.99 kBAdobe PDFView/Open

This item is protected by original copyright

A file in this item is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons

Items in the Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.

The metadata of the records in the Repository are available under the CC0 public domain dedication: No Rights Reserved

If you believe that any material held in STORRE infringes copyright, please contact providing details and we will remove the Work from public display in STORRE and investigate your claim.