Landscape Ecology

, Volume 24, Issue 7, pp 907–918 | Cite as

Is bird incidence in Atlantic forest fragments influenced by landscape patterns at multiple scales?

  • Danilo BoscoloEmail author
  • Jean P. Metzger
Research article


The degree to which habitat fragmentation affects bird incidence is species specific and may depend on varying spatial scales. Selecting the correct scale of measurement is essential to appropriately assess the effects of habitat fragmentation on bird occurrence. Our objective was to determine which spatial scale of landscape measurement best describes the incidence of three bird species (Pyriglena leucoptera, Xiphorhynchus fuscus and Chiroxiphia caudata) in the fragmented Brazilian Atlantic forest and test if multi-scalar models perform better than single-scalar ones. Bird incidence was assessed in 80 forest fragments. The surrounding landscape structure was described with four indices measured at four spatial scales (400-, 600-, 800- and 1,000-m buffers around the sample points). The explanatory power of each scale in predicting bird incidence was assessed using logistic regression, bootstrapped with 1,000 repetitions. The best results varied between species (1,000-m radius for P. leucoptera; 800-m for X. fuscus and 600-m for C. caudata), probably due to their distinct feeding habits and foraging strategies. Multi-scale models always resulted in better predictions than single-scale models, suggesting that different aspects of the landscape structure are related to different ecological processes influencing bird incidence. In particular, our results suggest that local extinction and (re)colonisation processes might simultaneously act at different scales. Thus, single-scale models may not be good enough to properly describe complex pattern–process relationships. Selecting variables at multiple ecologically relevant scales is a reasonable procedure to optimise the accuracy of species incidence models.


Landscape structure Spatial scale Incidence Fragmentation AUC Atlantic plateau Pyriglena leucoptera Xiphorhynchus fuscus Chiroxiphia caudata São Paulo Brazil 



We would like to thank the Helmholtz Institut für Umweltforschung—UFZ for institutional support, Roland Graf, Carlos Rodríguez, Milton Cezar Ribeiro, Paulo de Marco Júnior and the staff from LEPaC for their assistance in the data analysis and comments on previous versions of this manuscript, and Milton Cezar Ribeiro for aiding us with the image classifications, GIS and Bootstrap procedures. This research was supported by CNPq – Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico, an institution of the Brazilian government dedicated to the development of science.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ecology, Institute of BioscienceUniversity of São Paulo (USP)Sao PauloBrazil

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