Integrating Landscape Disturbance and Indicator Species in Conservation Studies

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http://hdl.handle.net/10138/165083

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Cardoso , P , Rigal , F , Fattorini , S , Terzopoulou , S & Borges , P A V 2013 , ' Integrating Landscape Disturbance and Indicator Species in Conservation Studies ' , PLoS One , vol. 8 , no. 5 . https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0063294

Title: Integrating Landscape Disturbance and Indicator Species in Conservation Studies
Author: Cardoso, Pedro; Rigal, Francois; Fattorini, Simone; Terzopoulou, Sofia; Borges, Paulo A. V.
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Finnish Museum of Natural History
Date: 2013-05-01
Language: eng
Number of pages: 10
Belongs to series: PLoS One
ISSN: 1932-6203
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/165083
Abstract: Successful conservation plans are conditioned by our ability to detect anthropogenic change in space and time and various statistical analyses have been developed to handle this critical issue. The main objective of this paper is to illustrate a new approach for spatial analysis in conservation biology. Here, we propose a two-step protocol. First, we introduce a new disturbance metric which provides a continuous measure of disturbance for any focal communities on the basis of the surrounding landscape matrix. Second, we use this new gradient to estimate species and community disturbance thresholds by implementing a recently developed method called Threshold Indicator Taxa ANalysis (TITAN). TITAN detects changes in species distributions along environmental gradients using indicators species analysis and assesses synchrony among species change points as evidence for community thresholds. We demonstrate our method with soil arthropod assemblages along a disturbance gradient in Terceira Island (Azores, Portugal). We show that our new disturbance metric realistically reflects disturbance patterns, especially in buffer zones (ecotones) between land use categories. By estimating species disturbance thresholds with TITAN along the disturbance gradient in Terceira, we show that species significantly associated with low disturbance differ from those associated with high disturbance in their biogeographical origin (endemics, non-endemic natives and exotics) and taxonomy (order). Finally, we suggest that mapping the disturbance community thresholds may reveal areas of primary interest for conservation, since these may host indigenous species sensitive to high disturbance levels. This new framework may be useful when: (1) both local and regional processes are to be reflected on single disturbance measures; (2) these are better quantified in a continuous gradient; (3) mapping disturbance of large regions using fine scales is necessary; (4) indicator species for disturbance are searched for and; (5) community thresholds are useful to understand the global dynamics of habitats.
Subject: ECOLOGICAL THRESHOLDS
ARTHROPOD COMMUNITIES
HABITAT FRAGMENTATION
OCEANIC ISLANDS
TROPICAL FOREST
BIODIVERSITY
AZORES
MANAGEMENT
DIVERSITY
RESPONSES
1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
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