Spatial relationship between biodiversity and geodiversity across a gradient of land-use intensity in high-latitude landscapes
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‘Conserving Nature’s stage’ has been advanced as an important conservation principle because of known links between biodiversity and abiotic environmental diversity, especially in sensitive high-latitude environments and at the landscape scale. However these links have not been examined across gradients of human impact on the landscape.
To (1) analyze the relationships between land-use intensity and both landscape-scale biodiversity and geodiversity, and (2) assess the contributions of geodiversity, climate and spatial variables to explaining vascular plant species richness in landscapes of low, moderate and high human impact.
We used generalized additive models (GAMs) to analyze relationships between land-use intensity and both geodiversity (geological, geomorphological and hydrological richness) and plant species richness in 6191 1-km2 grid squares across Finland. We used linear regression-based variation partitioning (VP) to assess contributions of climate, geodiversity and spatial variable groups to accounting for spatial variation in species richness.
In GAMs, geodiversity correlated negatively, and plant species richness positively, with land-use intensity. Both relationships were non-linear. In VP, geodiversity best accounted for species richness in areas of moderate to high human impact. These overall contributions were mainly due to variation explained jointly with climate, which dominated the models. Independent geodiversity contributions were highest in pristine environments, but low throughout.
Human action increases biodiversity but may reduce geodiversity, at landscape scale in high-latitude environments. Better understanding of the connections between biodiversity and abiotic environment along changing land-use gradients is essential in developing sustainable measures to conserve biodiversity under global change.
KeywordsHemeroby Species richness Human impact Variation partitioning Boreal Sub-Arctic
We would like to thank handling editor and two anonymous referees for valuable comments on the manuscript. We thank E. Hanski for the classification of the bedrock types. HT was supported by Kone Foundation and JH by the Academy of Finland (Project number 285040).
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