Neotropical bird communities in a human-modified landscape recently affected by two major hurricanes

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Levey , D R & MacGregor-Fors , I 2021 , ' Neotropical bird communities in a human-modified landscape recently affected by two major hurricanes ' , Avian conservation and ecology , vol. 16 , no. 2 , 9 .

Title: Neotropical bird communities in a human-modified landscape recently affected by two major hurricanes
Author: Levey, Dallas R.; MacGregor-Fors, Ian
Contributor organization: Ecosystems and Environment Research Programme
Date: 2021-12
Language: eng
Number of pages: 12
Belongs to series: Avian conservation and ecology
ISSN: 1712-6568
Abstract: Agriculture affects biodiversity on a global scale and especially in the Neotropics, leading to land-management challenges in which native wildlife is forced to interact with high-contrast landscape matrices. Further, the direct and indirect effects of hurricanes impacting native habitat in human-modified landscapes increases reliance on agricultural areas and high-contrast matrices. To understand how avian communities in a human-modified landscape respond to hurricane disturbance, we evaluated post-hurricane trends in species richness, density, structure, and functional and taxonomic composition in avian communities at tropical dry forest and in three agricultural habitats using point-count surveys. We compared our results to a similar study that took place years before the hurricanes in the study area. Similar to pre-hurricane trends, tropical dry forest provided key habitat for endemic species relative to agricultural areas, and tree orchards continued to serve as key secondary habitat for a high species richness and community evenness. However, tree orchards, along with cattle pastures and crop fields, failed to serve as successful buffers of hurricane disturbance by supporting half the estimated bird density of tropical dry forest. Cattle pasture and crop fields were both relatively species poor and had low community evenness compared to tropical dry forest and tree orchards after the hurricanes. Tropical dry forest had distinct species and feeding guild compositions compared to the agricultural habitats. All habitat types after the hurricanes had higher numbers of granivores and a reduction of carnivores compared to pre-hurricane levels. Land management in the study landscape needs to incorporate strategies that raise the hurricane resilience of agricultural areas while providing resources to support higher species richness and density in agricultural systems. Such strategies include the preservation of native trees and shrubs and allowing for the natural succession of habitat in unused areas in tree orchards, cattle pasture, and crop fields.
Subject: agriculture
avian community
community ecology
natural disasters
1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Peer reviewed: Yes
Rights: unspecified
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: publishedVersion

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