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Assessing the effects of land use on biodiversity in the world's drylands and Mediterranean environments

Garcia-Vega, D; Newbold, T; (2019) Assessing the effects of land use on biodiversity in the world's drylands and Mediterranean environments. Biodiversity and Conservation 10.1007/s10531-019-01888-4. Green open access

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Abstract

Biodiversity models make an important contribution to our understanding of global biodiversity changes. The effects of different land uses vary across ecosystem types, yet most broad-scale models have failed to account for this variation. The effects of land use may be different in systems characterized by low water availability because of the unusual conditions within these systems. Drylands are expanding, currently occupying over 40% of the terrestrial land, while Mediterranean systems are highly endangered biodiversity hotspots. However, the impact of land use on biodiversity in these biomes is yet to be assessed. Using a database of local biodiversity surveys, we assess the effects of land use on biodiversity in the world’s drylands and Mediterranean ecosystems. We compare the average species richness, total abundance, species diversity, ecological dominance, endemism rates, and compositional turnover across different land uses. In drylands, there was a strong turnover in species composition in disturbed land uses compared with undisturbed natural habitat (primary vegetation), but other measures of biodiversity did not respond significantly. However, it is important to note that the sample size for drylands was very low, a gap which should be filled promptly. Mediterranean environments showed a very high sensitivity of biodiversity to land uses. In this biome, even habitat recovering after past disturbance (secondary vegetation) had substantially reduced biodiversity and altered community composition compared with primary vegetation. In an effort to maintain original biodiversity and the ecosystem functions it supports within Mediterranean biomes, conservation measures should therefore prioritize the preservation of remaining primary vegetation.

Type: Article
Title: Assessing the effects of land use on biodiversity in the world's drylands and Mediterranean environments
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s10531-019-01888-4
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-019-01888-4
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: Science & Technology, Life Sciences & Biomedicine, Biodiversity Conservation, Ecology, Environmental Sciences, Biodiversity & Conservation, Environmental Sciences & Ecology, Biodiversity, Drylands, Land use, Mediterranean, Synthetic model, SPECIES RICHNESS, CLIMATE, AGRICULTURE, DIVERSITY, CONSERVATION, SCENARIOS, HOTSPOTS, IMPACT
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/10086338
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