Rodent community responses to vegetation and landscape changes in early successional stages of tropical dry forest
Publication date: 15 February 2019
Source: Forest Ecology and Management, Volume 433
Author(s): Sharon Patricia Morales-Díaz, Mariana Yolotl Alvarez-Añorve, Mayra Edith Zamora-Espinoza, Rodolfo Dirzo, Ken Oyama, Luis Daniel Avila-Cabadilla
The extent to which the array of land covers dominating anthropogenic landscapes impacts on biodiversity remains today an open question of great relevance. The characteristics of the animal communities inhabiting the forest early successional stages can determine, to a large extent, the course of secondary succession and natural regeneration. In this study, we evaluated the response of terrestrial rodents to variations in vegetation and landscape attributes, in early stages of tropical dry forest succession, at three integration levels: (1) communities, (2) populations, and (3) individuals. Our results reveal a rodent response to the variation in vegetation and landscape attributes, which indeed was largely modulated by seasonality, and determined by the focal spatial scale considered. In general, most of the species were favored by vegetation structure simplification and increase in understory density, probably due to the increase in refuge and trophic resources. Nevertheless, one species, Lyomis pictus, was sensitive to variation in vegetation composition and negatively affected by a reduction in vegetation structural complexity, which could be explained by the high number of trees included in their diet. We found a higher diversity of rodents in sites surrounded by a high coverage and connectivity of dry and riparian forest, probably because large forest patches act as sources of species and the forest connectivity favors the colonization process toward sites under regeneration. Our results showed that preserving remnants of the original vegetation and implementing management actions at different spatial scales in anthropogenic landscapes is critical for preventing: (1) an increase in generalist populations, (2) rapid faunal homogenization, (3) defaunation, and (4) the loss of specialist species; with profound implications for the ecology of forest, ecosystem services and human health.
via ScienceDirect Publication: Forest Ecology and Management https://ift.tt/2zaqiu8