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The present and future effects of land use on ecological assemblages in tropical grasslands and savannas in Africa

Newbold, T; Boakes, EH; Hill, SLL; Harfoot, MBJ; Collen, B; (2017) The present and future effects of land use on ecological assemblages in tropical grasslands and savannas in Africa. Oikos , 126 (12) pp. 1760-1769. 10.1111/oik.04338. Green open access

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Abstract

The world is currently experiencing a period of rapid, human-driven biodiversity loss. Over the past decade, numerous metrics for biodiversity have been used to create indicators to track change in biodiversity. However, our ability to predict future changes has been limited. In this study, we use two very different models to predict the status and possible futures for the composition and diversity of ecological assemblages in African tropical grasslands and savannas under land-use change. We show that ecological assemblages are affected more by land use in African grasslands and savannas than in other biomes. We estimate that average losses of assemblage composition and diversity are already between 9.7 and 42.0%, depending on the model and measure used. If current socio-economic trajectories continue (‘business-as-usual’), the likely associated land-use changes are predicted to lead to a further 5.6–12.3% loss of assemblage composition and diversity. In contrast, a scenario that assumes more efficient use of agricultural areas (thus requiring a smaller total area) could be associated with a partial reversal ‒ of as much as 3.2% ‒ of past losses. While the agriculture that causes the majority of land-use change is an important source of economic growth, projections of the effects of land use on ecological assemblages can allow for more informed decisions.

Type: Article
Title: The present and future effects of land use on ecological assemblages in tropical grasslands and savannas in Africa
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/oik.04338
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/oik.04338
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
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
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School Env, Energy and Resources
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1557198
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