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Widespread winners and narrow-ranged losers: Land use homogenizes biodiversity in local assemblages worldwide

Newbold, T; Hudson, LN; Contu, S; Hill, SLL; Beck, J; Liu, Y; Meyer, C; ... Purvis, A; + view all (2018) Widespread winners and narrow-ranged losers: Land use homogenizes biodiversity in local assemblages worldwide. PLoS Biology , 16 (12) , Article e2006841. 10.1371/journal.pbio.2006841. Green open access

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Abstract

Human use of the land (for agriculture and settlements) has a substantial negative effect on biodiversity globally. However, not all species are adversely affected by land use, and indeed, some benefit from the creation of novel habitat. Geographically rare species may be more negatively affected by land use than widespread species, but data limitations have so far prevented global multi-clade assessments of land-use effects on narrow-ranged and widespread species. We analyse a large, global database to show consistent differences in assemblage composition. Compared with natural habitat, assemblages in disturbed habitats have more widespread species on average, especially in urban areas and the tropics. All else being equal, this result means that human land use is homogenizing assemblage composition across space. Disturbed habitats show both reduced abundances of narrow-ranged species and increased abundances of widespread species. Our results are very important for biodiversity conservation because narrow-ranged species are typically at higher risk of extinction than widespread species. Furthermore, the shift to more widespread species may also affect ecosystem functioning by reducing both the contribution of rare species and the diversity of species’ responses to environmental changes among local assemblages.

Type: Article
Title: Widespread winners and narrow-ranged losers: Land use homogenizes biodiversity in local assemblages worldwide
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.2006841
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.2006841
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10063732
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