Original Paper

Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 21, Issue 6, pp 1365-1380

First online:

Biodiversity of man-made open habitats in an underused country: a class of multispecies abundance models for count data

  • Yuichi YamauraAffiliated withDepartment of Forest Entomology, Forestry and Forest Products Research InstituteDivision of Environmental Resources, Graduate School of Agriculture, Hokkaido University Email author 
  • , J. Andrew RoyleAffiliated withU. S. Geological Survey, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
  • , Naoaki ShimadaAffiliated withFaculty of Policy Studies, Iwate Prefectural University
  • , Seigo AsanumaAffiliated withStudy Club on Regional Environment Planning in Tohoku
  • , Tamotsu SatoAffiliated withDepartment of Forest Vegetation, Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute
  • , Hisatomo TakiAffiliated withDepartment of Forest Entomology, Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute
  • , Shun’ichi MakinoAffiliated withDepartment of Forest Entomology, Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute

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Since the 1960s, Japan has become highly dependent on foreign countries for natural resources, and the amount of managed lands (e.g. coppice, grassland, and agricultural field) has declined. Due to infrequent natural and human disturbance, early-successional species are now declining in Japan. Here we surveyed bees, birds, and plants in four human-disturbed open habitats (pasture, meadow, young planted forest, and abandoned clear-cut) and two forest habitats (mature planted forest and natural old-growth). We extended a recently developed multispecies abundance model to accommodate count data, and used the resulting models to estimate species-, functional group-, and community-level state variables (abundance and species richness) at each site, and compared them among the six habitats. Estimated individual-level detection probability was quite low for bee species (mean across species = 0.003; 0.16 for birds). Thirty-two (95% credible interval: 13–64) and one (0–4) bee and bird species, respectively, were suggested to be undetected by the field survey. Although habitats in which community-level abundance and species richness was highest differed among taxa, species richness and abundance of early-successional species were similar in the four disturbed open habitats across taxa except for plants in the pasture habitat which was a good habitat only for several exotic species. Our results suggest that human disturbance, especially the revival of plantation forestry, may contribute to the restoration of early-successional species in Japan.


Count data Functional group Hierarchical community model Human disturbance Plantation forestry Species richness