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Evolution and emerging research trends in the ecological impacts of landscape change: perspectives from a Chilean biodiversity hotspot

Abstract

Context

Literature on the ecological impacts of landscape change (LC) has increased dramatically over the last few decades. However, there has not been systematic evidence from a landscape ecology perspective about the evolution of research in this field as well as the main gaps in knowledge.

Objectives

Our objective was to track the advancement of research on ecological impacts of LC by identifying the main topics, as well as emerging trends, primary findings and main impacts of LC in a Chilean biodiversity hotspot.

Methods

We used CiteSpace to conduct a bibliometric analysis to represent the knowledge domain and to identify scientific literature related to the impacts of LC in a Chilean biodiversity hotspot between 1990 and 2019.

Results

We found that articles most frequently focused on compositional attributes of biodiversity (41%) and on analyzing impacts at the community (43%) and population level (34%). In particular, changes in community structure and composition and biologic interactions were the most frequently studied. Research on quantifying forest loss and fragmentation using spatially explicit modeling techniques over a long temporal scale were a turning point in LC impact research. We found several gaps in LC research, including lack of studies that simultaneously address multiple levels of the ecological hierarchy and that address linkages between ecological processes and the provisioning ecosystem services.

Conclusions

Studies that address the impacts of LC at multiple levels of ecological hierarchies and on ecosystem processes and services are needed. Furthermore, our findings highlight the importance of place-based research syntheses to identify research gaps and meet sustainability goals.

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Acknowledgements

This research was supported by the “Fondo Nacional de Desarrollo Científico y Tecnológico” Fondecyt regular 1181374.

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Hernández, C., Echeverría, C. & Nelson, C. Evolution and emerging research trends in the ecological impacts of landscape change: perspectives from a Chilean biodiversity hotspot. Landscape Ecol 36, 1587–1603 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10980-021-01247-1

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Keywords

  • Bibliometric approach
  • Biodiversity hotspot
  • Community structure
  • Ecological impacts
  • Ecosystem services
  • Landscape change