Advertisement

Landscape Ecology

, Volume 30, Issue 7, pp 1225–1239 | Cite as

Response of avian diversity to habitat modification can be predicted from life-history traits and ecological attributes

  • Yvette C. Ehlers Smith
  • David A. Ehlers Smith
  • Colleen L. Seymour
  • Elisa Thébault
  • F. J. Frank van Veen
Research Article

Abstract

Context

Habitat conversion for agriculture is a major driver of global biodiversity loss, partly because of homogeneity within agri-ecosystems. Anthropogenic landscapes can also increase habitat heterogeneity and primary productivity, however, augmenting regional biodiversity, as species that exploit resources associated with human activities expand their ranges into novel ecological regions.

Objectives

We used birds as a model in the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere, South Africa, to ask whether agriculture can add habitat components and bird species complementary to those already present, and whether habitat variables and bird functional traits can be used to identify bird species most likely to respond to such habitat changes.

Methods

We surveyed birds and measured habitat structure in 150 fixed-radius point counts each in natural habitat and mango orchards, and assessed relationships between habitat variables and bird functional traits.

Results

Despite mango orchards having greater vertical height structure because of tall (average 20 m) Casuarina windbreaks, they were missing the low-scrub (1–2 m woody cover) component of natural vegetation. We found that species whose life-history traits and ecological attributes were associated with structures missing from mango orchards were correspondingly absent from the orchards, which translated into the exclusion of 35 % of the bird species; bird assemblages within mango orchards were only a subset of those found in natural habitat.

Conclusions

These findings suggest that knowledge of habitat structure, along with species’ functional traits can provide a predictive framework for effects that anthropogenic habitats may have on regional biodiversity, and allow management to reduce negative effects.

Keywords

Agroecosystem Anthropogenic habitats Ecological attributes Functional diversity Functional traits Habitat heterogeneity Life history traits Habitat transformation RLQ analysis 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The research was conducted with financial support to the ‘NETWORK’ project from the European Commission Marie Curie International Research Staff Exchange Scheme (IRSES) (Grant agreement: PIRSES-GA-2012-318929). CLS was also financially assisted by DST Financial Assistance agreement DST/CON0054/2013 and NRF Grant 91039. We thank all the farmers involved for providing us access to the sites and D. Henri for statistical guidance.

Supplementary material

10980_2015_172_MOESM1_ESM.docx (408 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 407 kb)

References

  1. Benton TG, Vickery JA, Wilson JD (2003) Farmland biodiversity: is habitat heterogeneity the key? Trends Ecol Evol 18:182–188. doi: 10.1016/S0169-5347(03)00011-9 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bertzky B, Corrigan C, Kemsey J, Kenney S, Ravilious C, Besançon C, Burgess N (2012) Protected Planet Report 2012: tracking progress towards global targets for protected areas. IUCN & UNEP-WCMC, Gland, Switserland and Cambridge, UKGoogle Scholar
  3. Bianchi FJJ, Booij CJ, Tscharntke T (2006) Sustainable pest regulation in agricultural landscapes: a review on landscape composition, biodiversity and natural pest control. Proc R Soc B Biol Sci 273:1715–1727. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2006.3530 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bibby C, Buckland S (1987) Bias of bird census results due to detectability varying with habitat. Acta Oecol 8:103–112Google Scholar
  5. Bibby C, Burgess N, Hill D (2000) Bird census techniques. Academic Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  6. Blair R (1996) Land use and avian species diversity along an urban gradient. Ecol Appl 6:506–519CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bonthoux S, Barnagaud J-Y, Goulard M, Balent G (2012) Contrasting spatial and temporal responses of bird communities to landscape changes. Oecologia 172:563–574. doi: 10.1007/s00442-012-2498-2 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bremer LL, Farley KA (2010) Does plantation forestry restore biodiversity or create green deserts? A synthesis of the effects of land-use transitions on plant species richness. Biodivers Conserv 19:3893–3915. doi: 10.1007/s10531-010-9936-4 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Buckland S, Anderson D, Burnham K, Laake J (1993) Distance sampling: estimating abundance of biological populations. Chapman & Hall, LondonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Carvalheiro LG, Seymour CL, Veldtman R, Nicolson SW (2010) Pollination services decline with distance from natural habitat even in biodiversity-rich areas. J Appl Ecol 47:810–820. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2010.01829.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Carvalheiro LG, Seymour CL, Nicolson SW, Veldtman R (2012) Creating patches of native flowers facilitates crop pollination in large agricultural fields: mango as a case study. J Appl Ecol 49:1373–1383. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2012.02217.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cerezo A, Conde MC, Poggio SL (2011) Pasture area and landscape heterogeneity are key determinants of bird diversity in intensively managed farmland. Biodivers Conserv 20:2649–2667. doi: 10.1007/s10531-011-0096-y CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Chao A (1984) Nonparametric estimation of the number of classes in a population. Scand J Stat 11:265–270Google Scholar
  14. Chessel D, Dufour AB, Thioulouse J (2004) The ade4 package—1: one-table methods. R news 4:5–10Google Scholar
  15. Child MF, Cumming GS, Amano T (2009) Assessing the broad-scale impact of agriculturally transformed and protected area landscapes on avian taxonomic and functional richness. Biol Conserv 142:2593–2601. doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2009.06.007 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Clarke KR (1993) Non-parametric multivariate analyses of changes in community structure. Aust J Ecol 18:117–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Cleary DFR, Boyle TJB, Setyawati T, Anggraeni CD, Loon EE Van, Menken SBJ (2007) Bird species and traits associated with logged and unlogged forest in Borneo. Ecol Appl 17:1184–1197.Google Scholar
  18. Colwell RK, Mao CX, Chang J (2004) Interpolating, extrapolating, and comparing incidence-based species accumulation curves. Ecology 85:2717–2727CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Cowell RK (2006) EstimateS: Statistical estimation of species richness and shared species from samplesGoogle Scholar
  20. Crooks K (2004) Avian assemblages along a gradient of urbanization in a highly fragmented landscape. Biol Conserv 115:451–462. doi: 10.1016/S0006-3207(03)00162-9 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. De Klerk HM, Crowe TM, Fjeldsa J, Burgess ND (2002) Biogeographical patterns of endemic terrestrial Afrotropical birds. Divers Distrib 8:147–162. doi: 10.1046/j.1472-4642.2002.00142.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (2006) Chapter 4: Land. South Africa Environ. outlook. A Rep. State Environ. DEAT, Pretoria, pp 87–173Google Scholar
  23. Department of Horticultural Sciences (2002) Horticulture in the Limpopo Province. Abstr Agric Stat pp 1–23Google Scholar
  24. Dolédec S, Chessel D, Braak CJF, Champely S (1996) Matching species traits to environmental variables: a new three-table ordination method. Environ Ecol Stat 3:143–166. doi: 10.1007/BF02427859 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Doxa A, Bas Y, Paracchini ML, Pointereau P, Terres J-M, Jiguet F (2010) Low-intensity agriculture increases farmland bird abundances in France. J Appl Ecol 47:1348–1356. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2010.01869.x
  26. Dray S, Dufour A-B (2007) The ade4 package: implementing the duality diagram for ecologists. J Stat Softw 22:1–20Google Scholar
  27. ESRI (Environmental Systems Research Institute) (2011) ArcGIS Desktop 10Google Scholar
  28. Evans KL, van Rensburg BJ, Gaston KJ, Chown SL (2006) People, species richness and human population growth. Glob Ecol Biogeogr 14:625–636. doi: 10.1111/j.1466-822X.2006.00253.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Fahrig L, Baudry J, Brotons L, Burel FG, Crist TO, Fuller RJ, Sirami C, Siriwardena GM, Martin J-L (2011) Functional landscape heterogeneity and animal biodiversity in agricultural landscapes. Ecol Lett 14:101–112. doi: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2010.01559.x
  30. Fairbanks DHK (2004) Regional land-use impacts affecting avian richness patterns in Southern Africa-insights from historical avian atlas data. Agric Ecosyst Environ 101:269–288. doi: 10.1016/j.agee.2003.09.009 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Fairbanks DHK, Kshatriya M, Jaarsveld AS, Underhill LG (2002) Scales and consequences of human land transformation on South African avian diversity and structure. Anim Conserv 5:61–73. doi: 10.1017/S1367943002001087 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Foley JA, Ramankutty N, Brauman KA, Cassidy ES, Gerber JS, Johnston M, Mueller ND, O’Connell C, Ray DK, West PC, Balzer C, Bennett EM, Carpenter SR, Hill J, Monfreda C, Polasky S, Rockström J, Sheehan J, Siebert S, Tilman D, Zaks DPM (2011) Solutions for a cultivated planet. Nature 478:337–342. doi: 10.1038/nature10452
  33. Gibbons DW, Gregory RD (2006) Birds. In: Sutherland WJ (ed) Ecological census techniques: a handbook. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 308–350CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Hanberry BB, Hanberry P, Riffell SK, Demarais S, Jones JC (2012) Bird assemblages of intensively established pine plantations in Coastal Plain Mississippi. J Wildl Manag 76:1205–1214. doi: 10.1002/jwmg.361
  35. Harper D, Ryan P (2001) PAST: paleontological statistics software package for education and data analysis. Palaeontol Electron 4:1–9Google Scholar
  36. Harrison JA, Allan DG, Underhill LG, Herremans M, Tree AJ, Parker V, Brown CJ (1997) The atlas of southern African birds. Vol. 2: Passerines. Birdlife South Africa, JohannesburgGoogle Scholar
  37. Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ, Ryan P (2005) Birds of Southern Africa, 7th edn. John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape TownGoogle Scholar
  38. Hockey PAR, Sirami C, Ridley AR, Midgley GF, Babiker HA (2011) Interrogating recent range changes in South African birds: confounding signals from land use and climate change present a challenge for attribution. Divers Distrib 17:254–261. doi: 10.1111/j.1472-4642.2010.00741.x
  39. Hugo S, Van Rensburg BJ (2009) Alien and native birds in South Africa: patterns, processes and conservation. Biol Invasions 11:2291–2302. doi: 10.1007/s10530-008-9416-x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Ikin K, Knight E, Lindenmayer DB, Fischer J, Manning AD (2012) Linking bird species traits to vegetation characteristics in a future urban development zone: implications for urban planning. Urban Ecosyst 15:961–977. doi: 10.1007/s11252-012-0247-2
  41. Jamil T, Ozinga WA, Kleyer M, ter Braak CJF (2012) Selecting traits that explain species-environment relationships: a generalized linear mixed model approach. J Veg Sci 24:988–1000. doi: 10.1111/j.1654-1103.2012.12036.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Jones JE, Kroll AJ, Giovanini J, Duke SD, Ellis TM, Betts MG (2012) Avian species richness in relation to intensive forest management practices in early seral tree plantations. PLoS ONE 7:1–10. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0043290
  43. Joseph GS, Cumming GS, Cumming DHM, Mahlangu Z, Altwegg R, Seymour CL (2011) Large termitaria act as refugia for tall trees, deadwood and cavity-using birds in a miombo woodland. Landsc Ecol 26:439–448. doi: 10.1007/s10980-011-9572-8
  44. Kleyer M, Dray S, Bello F, Lepš J, Pakeman RJ, Strauss B, Thuiller W, Lavorel S (2012) Assessing species and community functional responses to environmental gradients: which multivariate methods? J Veg Sci 23:805–821. doi: 10.1111/j.1654-1103.2012.01402.x
  45. Koh L (2008) Can oil palm plantations be made more hospitable for forest butterflies and birds? J Appl Ecol 45:1002–1009. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2007.0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Lenda M, Skórka P, Moroń D, Rosin ZM, Tryjanowski P (2012) The importance of the gravel excavation industry for the conservation of grassland butterflies. Biol Conserv 148:180–190. doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2012.01.014
  47. MacArthur RH, MacArthur JW, Preer J (1962) On bird species diversity II Prediction of bird census from habitat measurements. Am Nat 96:167–174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Manning JC (2003) Photographic guide to the wildflowers of South Africa. Briza, PretoriaGoogle Scholar
  49. McKinney ML, Lockwood JL (1999) Biotic homogenization: a few winners replacing many losers in the next mass extinction. Trends Ecol Evol 14:450–453. doi: 10.1016/S0169-5347(99)01679-1 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Mucina L, Rutherford MC (2011) The vegetation of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. Strelitzia 19. South African National Biodiversity Institute, PretoriaGoogle Scholar
  51. Ndang’ang’a PK, Njoroge JBM, Vickery J (2013a) Quantifying the contribution of birds to the control of arthropod pests on kale, Brassica oleracea acephala, a key crop in East African highland farmland. Int J Pest Manag 59:211–216. doi: 10.1080/09670874.2013.820005 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Ndang’ang’a PK, Njoroge JB, Githiru M (2013b) Vegetation composition and structure influences bird species community assemblages in the highland agricultural landscape of Nyandarua, Kenya. Ostrich 84:171–179. doi: 10.2989/00306525.2013.860929 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Okes NC, Hockey PAR, Cumming GS (2008) Habitat use and life history as predictors of bird responses to habitat change. Conserv Biol 22:151–162. doi: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2007.00862.x PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Perfecto I, Vandermeer J, Bautista G (2004) Greater predation in shaded coffee farms: the role of resident neotropical birds. Ecology 85:2677–2681CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Pickett ST, Cadenasso M (1995) Landscape ecology: spatial heterogeneity in ecological systems. Science 269:331–334PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. R Development Core Team (2008) R: a language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, ViennaGoogle Scholar
  57. Reyers B (2004) Incorporating anthropogenic threats into evaluations of regional biodiversity and prioritisation of conservation areas in the Limpopo Province, South Africa. Biol Conserv 118:521–531. doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2003.09.027 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Reyers B, Fairbanks DHK, Van Jaarsveld AS, Thompson M (2001) Priority areas for the conservation of South African vegetation: a coarse-filter approach. Divers Distrib 7:79–95. doi: 10.1046/j.1472-4642.2001.00098.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Ricklefs RE (1991) Structures and transformations of life histories. Funct Ecol 5:174–183CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (2010) Global Biodiversity. Outlook 3(104):1–94Google Scholar
  61. Sekercioglu CH (2012) Bird functional diversity and ecosystem services in tropical forests, agroforests and agricultural areas. J Ornithol 153:153–161. doi: 10.1007/s10336-012-0869-4 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Sekercioğlu CH, Daily GC, Ehrlich PR (2004) Ecosystem consequences of bird declines. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 101:18042–18047. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0408049101 PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Seymour CL, Dean WRJ (2010) The influence of changes in habitat structure on the species composition of bird assemblages in the southern Kalahari. Austral Ecol 35:581–592. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-9993.2009.02069.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Sirami C, Seymour C, Midgley G, Barnard P (2009) The impact of shrub encroachment on savanna bird diversity from local to regional scale. Divers Distrib 15:948–957. doi: 10.1111/j.1472-4642.2009.00612.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Skórka P, Lenda M, Moroń D, Tryjanowski P (2013) New methods of crop production and farmland birds: effects of plastic mulches on species richness and abundance. J Appl Ecol 50:1387–1396. doi: 10.1111/1365-2664.12148 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Sullivan D (2009) Google Earth Pro. 16–18Google Scholar
  67. Thies C, Tscharntke T (1999) Landscape structure and biological control in agroecosystems. Science 285:893–895PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Thioulouse J, Dray S (2007) Interactive multivariate data analysis in R with the ade4 and ade4tkgui packages. J Stat Softw 22:1–14Google Scholar
  69. Tscharntke T, Klein AM, Kruess A, Steffan-Dewenter I, Thies C (2005) Landscape perspectives on agricultural intensification and biodiversity and ecosystem service management. Ecol Lett 8:857–874. doi: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2005.00782.x
  70. Wesuls D, Oldeland J, Dray S (2012) Disentangling plant trait responses to livestock grazing from spatio-temporal variation: the partial RLQ approach. J Veg Sci 23:98–113. doi: 10.1111/j.1654-1103.2011.01342.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Weyland F, Baudry J, Ghersa CM (2012) A fuzzy logic method to assess the relationship between landscape patterns and bird richness of the Rolling Pampas. Landsc Ecol 27:869–885. doi: 10.1007/s10980-012-9735-2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Wunderle JM Jr, Latta SC (1998) Avian resource use in Dominican shade coffee plantations. Wilson Bull 110:271–281. doi: 10.2307/4163936 Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yvette C. Ehlers Smith
    • 1
    • 2
  • David A. Ehlers Smith
    • 3
  • Colleen L. Seymour
    • 4
  • Elisa Thébault
    • 5
  • F. J. Frank van Veen
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Ecology and Conservation, College of Life and Environmental SciencesUniversity of ExeterCornwallUK
  2. 2.College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science: School of Life SciencesThe University of KwaZulu-NatalPietermaritzburgSouth Africa
  3. 3.Oxford Brookes UniversityOxfordUK
  4. 4.Kirstenbosch Research CentreSouth African National Biodiversity InstituteClaremontSouth Africa
  5. 5.Institute of Ecology and Environmental Sciences - ParisUMR 7618 (UPMC, CNRS, IRD, INRA, UPEC, Paris Diderot), Université Pierre et Marie CurieParis Cedex 05France

Personalised recommendations