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Small landscape elements double connectivity in highly fragmented areas of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest

Siqueira, Flávia Freire, de Carvalho, Dulcineia de, Rhodes, Jonathan, Archibald, Carla L, Rezende, Vanessa Leite and van den Berg, Eduardo 2021, Small landscape elements double connectivity in highly fragmented areas of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, Frontiers in ecology and evolution, vol. 9, pp. 1-14, doi: 10.3389/fevo.2021.614362.

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Title Small landscape elements double connectivity in highly fragmented areas of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest
Author(s) Siqueira, Flávia Freire
de Carvalho, Dulcineia de
Rhodes, Jonathan
Archibald, Carla LORCID iD for Archibald, Carla L orcid.org/0000-0003-1640-8396
Rezende, Vanessa Leite
van den Berg, Eduardo
Journal name Frontiers in ecology and evolution
Volume number 9
Article ID 614362
Start page 1
End page 14
Total pages 14
Publisher Frontiers Media
Place of publication Lausanne, Switzerland
Publication date 2021-05
ISSN 2296-701X
2296-701X
Keyword(s) biodiversity conservation
Ecology
Environmental Sciences & Ecology
fragmentation
habitat loss
landscape connectivity
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
private land conservation
remote sensing-GIS
Science & Technology
tropical forest
Summary The Atlantic Forest in Brazil is a biodiversity hotspot, yet its diverse ecosystems and species are becoming increasingly threatened by habitat loss and extreme habitat fragmentation. Most habitat patches of Atlantic Forest are dispersed across agricultural landscapes (e.g., grazing and cropping) in relatively small and isolated fragments (80% < 50 ha). Forest fragments < 1 ha, scattered trees in pastures, tree lines on trenches and fences, and remnant riparian forest, collectively called here Small Landscape Elements (SLEs), are very common in this context. While these SLEs make up much of the Atlantic Forests footprint, very little is known about their role or impact on the persistence and conservation of species. In this study, we investigate the role of SLEs on landscape configuration, particularly their contribution toward landscape connectivity of individual species and the genetic flow of species between larger forest fragments. We randomly selected 20 buffers of 707 hectares within a 411,670 hectare area of the Atlantic Forest that was completely covered by forest in the past located in the south of Minas Gerais State, Brazil. The forest cover randomly varied between these buffers. We used graph theory to measure landscape connectivity as the probability of connectivity for different disperser movement types between landscape knots (habitat patches). We used three estimated dispersal distances in the models: pollen disperser insect (50 m), low-mobility seed disperser bird (100 m) and high-mobility seed disperser bird (760 m). The SLEs together increased the probability of connection by roughly 50%, for all model dispersers, if compared to a theoretical baseline landscape containing no SLEs. Of all SLEs, riparian forests contribute the most toward enhancing landscape connectivity. In these highly fragmented landscapes, such as the Atlantic Forest (>70%), the position of SLEs within the landscapes was more important than their respective areas for connectivity. Although the landscapes were deeply fragmented, we showed that the presence of SLEs can increase connectivity and reduce further biodiversity loss in the Atlantic Forest.
Language eng
DOI 10.3389/fevo.2021.614362
Indigenous content off
Field of Research 0602 Ecology
0603 Evolutionary Biology
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Free to Read? Yes
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30152480

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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.