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Parallel declines in species and genetic diversity in tropical forest fragments

Authors

  • Matthew J. Struebig,

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary University of London, London E1 4NS, UK
    2. Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology, School of Anthropology and Conservation, University of Kent, Canterbury CT2 7NR, UK
      E-mails: m.struebig@qmul.ac.uk, m.j.struebig@kent.ac.uk; s.j.rossiter@qmul.ac.uk
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  • Tigga Kingston,

    1. Department of Biological Sciences, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX 79409-3131, USA
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  • Eric J. Petit,

    1. University Rennes 1/CNRS, UMR 6553 ECOBIO, Station Biologique, F-35380 Paimpont, France
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  • Steven C. Le Comber,

    1. School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary University of London, London E1 4NS, UK
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  • Akbar Zubaid,

    1. Faculty of Science and Technology, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, 43600 UKM Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia
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  • Adura Mohd-Adnan,

    1. Faculty of Science and Technology, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, 43600 UKM Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia
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  • Stephen J. Rossiter

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary University of London, London E1 4NS, UK
      E-mails: m.struebig@qmul.ac.uk, m.j.struebig@kent.ac.uk; s.j.rossiter@qmul.ac.uk
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E-mails: m.struebig@qmul.ac.uk, m.j.struebig@kent.ac.uk; s.j.rossiter@qmul.ac.uk

Abstract

Ecology Letters (2011) 14: 582–590

Abstract

The potential for parallel impacts of habitat change on multiple biodiversity levels has important conservation implications. We report on the first empirical test of the ‘species–genetic diversity correlation’ across co-distributed taxa with contrasting ecological traits in the context of habitat fragmentation. In a rainforest landscape undergoing conversion to oil palm, we show that depauperate species richness in fragments is mirrored by concomitant declines in population genetic diversity in the taxon predicted to be most susceptible to fragmentation. This association, not seen in the other species, relates to fragment area rather than isolation. While highlighting the over-simplification of extrapolating across taxa, we show that fragmentation presents a double jeopardy for some species. For these, conserving genetic diversity at levels of pristine forest could require sites 15-fold larger than those needed to safeguard species numbers. Importantly, however, each fragment contributes to regional species richness, with larger ones tending to contain more species.

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