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Wednesday, April 11 • 11:00am - 11:15am
HABITAT FRAGMENTATION/CONNECTIVITY: Seeing the Forest Through the Trees: An Assessment of Habitat Fragmentation’s Impacts on Woody Plant Communities Across Scales

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AUTHORS: Maxwell C. Wilson*, School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University; Guang Hu, Department of Landscape Architecture, School of Civil Engineering and Architecture, Zhejiang Sci-Tech University; Lin Jiang, School of Biological Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology; Mingjian Yu, College of Life Sciences, Zhejiang University; Jianguo Wu, School of Life Sciences and School of Sustainability, Arizona State University, Center for Human-Environment System Sustainability, State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, Beijing Normal University

ABSTRACT: Habitat fragmentation, the loss of habitat in the landscape and spatial isolation of habitat patches, has long been considered a serious threat to biodiversity on global and regional scales. However, the study of fragmentation has been haunted by definitional and conceptual challenges. In particular, few studies have implemented multi-scale approaches or studied the impacts of habitat fragmentation beyond the species level. Here we perform such an analysis, studying the impacts of habitat fragmentation on both species diversity and functional composition of woody plants at local, patch, and regional scales using the Hierarchical Patch Dynamics Paradigm. We find that fragmentation significantly affects plant communities at and between all scales, specifically altering alpha diversity at the patch and landscape scales while driving variation in functional composition across all scales. Further, we find that many of these effects are scale-dependent and that the scale-dependence of fragmentation-biodiversity relationships necessitates the use of multi-scale approaches. We conclude by calling for the increased understanding of scale-dependence in conservation planning and for the continued study of habitat fragmentation beyond the species level.

Wednesday April 11, 2018 11:00am - 11:15am CDT
Hancock Parlor