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Differing responses to landscape change : implications for small mammal assemblages in forest fragments

journal contribution
posted on 2009-10-01, 00:00 authored by Gregory Holland, Andrew Bennett
Human modification of landscapes typically results in many species being confined to small, isolated and degraded habitat fragments. While fragment size and isolation underpin many studies of modified landscapes, vegetation characteristics are less frequently incorporated. The relative influence of biogeographic (e.g. size, isolation) and vegetation parameters on assemblages is poorly understood, but critical for conservation management. In this study, a multiple hypothesis testing framework was used to determine the relative importance of biogeographic and vegetation parameters in explaining the occurrence of an assemblage of small mammals in 48 forest fragments in an agricultural landscape in south-eastern Australia. Fragment size and vegetation characteristics were consistently important predictors of occurrence across species. In contrast, fragment isolation was important for just one native species. Differing abilities of species to move through the landscape provide a reasonable explanation for these results. We conclude that for effective conservation of assemblages, it is important to: (1) consider differing responses of species to landscape change, and (2) move beyond a focus primarily on spatial attributes (size, isolation) to recognise that landscape change also has profound effects on habitat composition and quality.

History

Journal

Biodiversity and conservation

Volume

18

Issue

11

Pagination

2997 - 3016

Publisher

Springer Netherlands

Location

Dordrecht, The Netherlands

ISSN

0960-3115

eISSN

1572-9710

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2009, Springer Science + Business Media B.V.