, Volume 21, Issue 6, pp 1365-1380
Date: 25 Mar 2012

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

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Abstract

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.