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Data from: Time-lag in responses of birds to Atlantic Forest fragmentation: restoration opportunity and urgency


Uezu, Alexandre; Metzger, Jean Paul (2016), Data from: Time-lag in responses of birds to Atlantic Forest fragmentation: restoration opportunity and urgency, Dryad, Dataset,


There are few opportunities to evaluate the relative importance of landscape structure and dynamics upon biodiversity, especially in highly fragmented tropical landscapes. Conservation strategies and species risk evaluations often rely exclusively on current aspects of landscape structure, although such limited assumptions are known to be misleading when time-lag responses occur. By relating bird functional-group richness to forest patch size and isolation in ten-year intervals (1956, 1965, 1978, 1984, 1993 and 2003), we revealed that birds with different sensitivity to fragmentation display contrasting responses to landscape dynamics in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. For non-sensitive groups, there was no time-lag in response: the recent degree of isolation best explains their variation in richness, which likely relates to these species’ flexibility to adapt to changes in landscape structure. However, for sensitive bird groups, the 1978 patch area was the best explanatory variable, providing evidence for a 25-year time-lag in response to habitat reduction. Time-lag was more likely in landscapes that encompass large patches, which can support temporarily the presence of some sensitive species, even when habitat cover is relatively low. These landscapes potentially support the most threatened populations and should be priorities for restoration efforts to avoid further species loss. Although time-lags provide an opportunity to counteract the negative consequences of fragmentation, it also reinforces the urgency of restoration actions. Fragmented landscapes will be depleted of biodiversity if landscape structure is only maintained, and not improved. The urgency of restoration action may be even higher in landscapes where habitat loss and fragmentation history is older and where no large fragment remained to act temporarily as a refuge.

Usage Notes


Pontal do Paranapanema
Atlantic Forest