Bird species richness patterns of northern Taiwan: primary productivity, human population density, and habitat heterogeneity

Authors

  • Chao-Nien Koh,

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, National Taiwan University, Taipei 106, Taiwan;
    2. Taiwan Forestry Research Institute, Council of Agriculture, Taipei 100, Taiwan; and
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  • Pei-Fen Lee,

    1. Institute of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, National Taiwan University, Taipei 106, Taiwan;
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  • Ruey-Shing Lin

    1. Institute of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, National Taiwan University, Taipei 106, Taiwan;
    2. Endemic Species Research Institute, Nantou 552, Taiwan
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*Corresponding author. Chao-Nien Koh, Institute of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, National Taiwan University, Taipei 106, Taiwan. Tel.: 886-2-23039978; Fax: 886-2-23078755; E-mail: nien@tfri.gov.tw

ABSTRACT

Energy, climate, habitat heterogeneity, and human activity are important correlates of spatial variation in species richness. We examined the correlation between species richness and these variables using the birds that breed in northern Taiwan. We conducted general linear models (GLMs) and spatial correlation models to examine the relationship between bird species richness (BSR) and environmental variables. We found that normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) was the most important predictor of BSR. We suggest productivity is the primary process of BSR. Additionally, we hypothesized that scale dependency might exist in the relationship between BSR and NDVI in Taiwan. Human population density, the second most important factor, was inversely correlated with BSR. The factor and BSR did not have similar response to NDVI, which contradicted observations in most of the previous studies on human population vs. species richness. We proposed that the human population density had an effect on NDVI, which in turn had an effect on BSR. Moreover, we hypothesized that the contradiction between our study and the previous studies might arise from a higher level of human disturbance in Taiwan than in other areas. The necessity of conserving native species in intensively developed lowlands of Taiwan cannot be overemphasized. Number of land cover type was another significant predictor of BSR. Habitat heterogeneity may have an effect on BSR in Taiwan.

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