Advertisement

Landscape Ecology

, Volume 27, Issue 7, pp 929–941 | Cite as

What size is a biologically relevant landscape?

Research Article

Abstract

The spatial extent at which landscape structure best predicts population response, called the scale of effect, varies across species. An ability to predict the scale of effect of a landscape using species traits would make landscape study design more efficient and would enable landscape managers to plan at the appropriate scale. We used an individual based simulation model to predict how species traits influence the scale of effect. Specifically, we tested the effects of dispersal distance, reproductive rate, and informed movement behavior on the radius at which percent habitat cover best predicts population abundance in a focal area. Scale of effect for species with random movement behavior was compared to scale of effect for species with three (cumulative) levels of information use during dispersal: habitat based settlement, conspecific density based settlement, and gap-avoidance during movement. Consistent with a common belief among researchers, dispersal distance had a strong, positive influence on scale of effect. A general guideline for empiricists is to expect the radius of a landscape to be 4–9 times the median dispersal distance or 0.3–0.5 times the maximum dispersal distance of a species. Informed dispersal led to greater increases in population size than did increased reproductive rate. Similarly, informed dispersal led to more strongly decreased scales of effect than did reproductive rate. Most notably, gap-avoidance resulted in scales that were 0.2–0.5 times those of non-avoidant species. This is the first study to generate testable hypotheses concerning the mechanisms underlying the scale at which populations respond to the landscape.

Keywords

Landscape context Spatial scale Habitat fragmentation Focal patch Buffer Informed dispersal Habitat selection Edge-mediated dispersal Boundary behavior 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank Lutz Tischendorf for his modelling suggestions and for his assistance with NetLogo. This work was supported by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) grants to LF. We thank Nathan Jackson and three anonymous reviewers for their helpful suggestions.

Supplementary material

10980_2012_9757_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (960 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 961 kb)

References

  1. Akçakaya HR (1991) A method for simulating demographic stochasticity. Ecol Model 54:133–136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baguette M, Van Dyck H (2007) Landscape connectivity and animal behavior: functional grain as a key determinant for dispersal. Landscape Ecol 22:1117–1129CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barton KA, Phillips BL, Morales JM, Travis JMJ (2009) The evolution of an ‘intelligent’ dispersal strategy: biased, correlated random walks in patchy landscapes. Oikos 118:309–319CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bowler DE, Benton TG (2005) Causes and consequences of animal dispersal strategies: relating individual behaviour to spatial dynamics. Biol Rev 80:205–225PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bowman J (2003) Is dispersal distance of birds proportional to territory size? Can J Zool 81:195–202CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bowman J, Jaeger JAG, Fahrig L (2002) Dispersal distance of mammals proportional to home range size. Ecology 83:2049–2055CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brennan JM, Bender DJ, Contreras TA, Fahrig L (2002) Focal patch landscape studies for wildlife management: optimizing sampling effort across scales. In: Liu J, Taylor WW (eds) Integrating landscape ecology into natural resource management. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  8. Burnham KP, Anderson DR (2002) Model selection and inference: a practical information-theoretic approach. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  9. Carr LW, Fahrig L (2001) Effect of road traffic on two amphibian species of differing vagility. Conserv Biol 15:1071–1078CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chapman DS, Dytham C, Oxford GS (2007) Modelling population redistribution in a leaf beetle: an evaluation of alternative dispersal functions. J Anim Ecol 76:36–44PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Clobert J, Galliard J-FL, Cote J, Meylan S, Massot M (2009) Informed dispersal, heterogeneity in animal dispersal syndromes and the dynamics of spatially structured populations. Ecol Lett 12:197–209PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Eigenbrod F, Hecnar SJ, Fahrig L (2008) The relative effects of road traffic and forest cover on anuran populations. Biol Conserv 141:35–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fagan WF, Lynch HJ, Noon BR (2010) Pitfalls and challenges of estimating population growth rate from empirical data: consequences for allometric scaling relations. Oikos 119:455–464CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fahrig L (2001) How much habitat is enough? Biol Conserv 100:65–74CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fahrig L (2003) Effects of habitat fragmentation on biodiversity. Annu Rev Ecol Evol Syst 34:487–515CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fletcher RJ (2006) Emergent properties of conspecific attraction in fragmented landscapes. Am Nat 168:207–219PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Guo YL, Ge S (2005) Molecular phylogeny of Oryzeae (Poaceae) based on DNA sequences from chloroplast, mitochondrial, and nuclear genomes. Am J Bot 92:1548–1558PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hawkes C (2009) Linking movement behaviour, dispersal and population processes: is individual variation a key? J Anim Ecol 78:894–906PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Holland JD, Fahrig L, Cappuccino N (2005a) Body size affects the spatial scale of habitat–beetle interactions. Oikos 110:101–108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Holland JD, Fahrig L, Cappuccino N (2005b) Fecundity determines the extinction threshold in a Canadian assemblage of longhorned beetles (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae). J Insect Conserv 9:109–119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Holling CS (1992) Cross-scale morphology, geometry, and dynamics of ecosystems. Ecol Monogr 62:447–502CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Horner-Devine MC, Daily GC, Ehrlich PR, Boggs CL (2003) Countryside biogeography of tropical butterflies. Conserv Biol 17:168–177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Jackson HB, Baum K, Robert T, Cronin JT (2009) Habitat-specific and edge-mediated dispersal behavior of a saproxylic insect, Odontotaenius disjunctus Illiger (Coleoptera: Passalidae). Environ Entomol 38:1411–1422PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Jetz W, Carbone C, Fulford J, Brown JH (2004) The scaling of animal space use. Science 306:266–268PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kareiva PM, Shigesada N (1983) Analyzing insect movement as a correlated random-walk. Oecologia 56:234–238CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kot M, Lewis MA, van den Driessche P (1996) Dispersal data and the spread of invading organisms. Ecology 77:2027–2042CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Laurance WF, Lovejoy TE, Vasconcelos HL, Bruna EM, Didham RK, Stouffer PC, Gascon C, Bierregaard RO, Laurance SG, Sampaio E (2002) Ecosystem decay of Amazonian forest fragments: a 22-year investigation. Conserv Biol 16:605–618CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Nichols RA, Hewitt GM (1994) The genetic consequences of long-distance dispersal during colonization. Heredity 72:312–317CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Okubo A (1980) Diffusion and ecological problems: mathematical models. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  30. Ricketts TH, Daily GC, Ehrlich PR, Fay JP (2001) Countryside biogeography of moths in a fragmented landscape: biodiversity in native and agricultural habitats. Conserv Biol 15:378–388CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Ries L, Debinski DM (2001) Butterfly responses to habitat edges in the highly fragmented prairies of central Iowa. J Anim Ecol 70:840–852CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Ritchie ME (2010) Scale, heterogeneity, and the structure and diversity of ecological communities. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  33. Roland J, Taylor PD (1997) Insect parasitoid species respond to forest structure at different spatial scales. Nature 386:710–713CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Saupe D (1988) Algorithms for random fractals. In: Peitgen H-O, Saupe D (eds) The science of fractal images. Springer, New York, pp 71–113CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Schultz CB, Crone EE (2001) Edge-mediated dispersal behavior in a prairie butterfly. Ecology 82:1879–1892CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Smith AC, Fahrig L, Francis CM (2011) Landscape size affects the relative importance of habitat amount, habitat fragmentation, and matrix quality on forest birds. Ecography 34:103–113CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Tischendorf L, Grez A, Zaviezo T, Fahrig L (2005) Mechanisms affecting population density in fragmented habitat. Ecol Soc 10:13Google Scholar
  38. Tittler R (2008) Source–sink dynamics, dispersal, and landscape effects on North American songbirds. Dissertation, Carleton University, OttawaGoogle Scholar
  39. Turchin P (1998) Quantitative analysis of movement: measuring and modeling population redistribution in animals and plants. Sinauer Associates, Inc., SunderlandGoogle Scholar
  40. Vance MD, Fahrig L, Flather CH (2003) Effect of reproductive rate on minimum habitat requirements of forest-breeding birds. Ecology 84:2643–2653CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Wilensky U (1999) Netlogo. http://ccl.northwestern.edu/netlogo/. Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling, Northwestern University, Evanston
  42. With KA, King AW (1999) Extinction thresholds for species in fractal landscapes. Conserv Biol 13:314–326CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Zollner PA, Lima SL (1999) Search strategies for landscape-level interpatch movements. Ecology 80:1019–1030CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Geomatics and Landscape Ecology Laboratory, Department of BiologyCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada

Personalised recommendations