, Volume 10, Issue 6, pp 964-974
Date: 01 Aug 2007

Functional Richness and Relative Resilience of Bird Communities in Regions with Different Land Use Intensities

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Empirical estimates of the function and resilience of communities under different management regimes can provide valuable information for sustainable natural resource management, but such estimates are scarce to date. We quantified the functional richness and relative resilience of bird communities inhabiting five regions in southeastern Australia that represented different management regimes. First, we show that functional richness and relative resilience were reduced at species-poor sites in all regions. Second, we show that bird communities in agricultural regions had fewer body mass groups and fewer functional groups than expected by chance. This suggests that both the function and the resilience of bird communities in agricultural regions were reduced. The likely mechanisms for the observed loss of function and relative resilience are: (1) the simplification of landscape texture resulting in selective extinction of certain body mass groups; and (2) the selective extinction of certain functional groups that are particularly sensitive to intensive land use.