Functional biotic homogenization of bird communities in disturbed landscapes

Authors

  • Vincent Devictor,

    Corresponding author
    1. CNRS-MNHN-PARIS VI. UMR-5173 ‘Conservation des Espèces, Restauration et Suivi des Populations’, CRBPO, 55 Rue Buffon, 75005 Paris, France and
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  • Romain Julliard,

    1. CNRS-MNHN-PARIS VI. UMR-5173 ‘Conservation des Espèces, Restauration et Suivi des Populations’, CRBPO, 55 Rue Buffon, 75005 Paris, France and
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  • Joanne Clavel,

    1. CNRS-MNHN-PARIS VI. UMR-5173 ‘Conservation des Espèces, Restauration et Suivi des Populations’, CRBPO, 55 Rue Buffon, 75005 Paris, France and
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  • Frédéric Jiguet,

    1. CNRS-MNHN-PARIS VI. UMR-5173 ‘Conservation des Espèces, Restauration et Suivi des Populations’, CRBPO, 55 Rue Buffon, 75005 Paris, France and
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  • Alexandre Lee,

    1. Laboratoire d’Analyse des Risques et de Gestion de l’Espace, ENITA de Bordeaux, 1 Cours du Général de Gaulle, CS 40201-33175 Gradignan Cedex, France
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  • Denis Couvet

    1. CNRS-MNHN-PARIS VI. UMR-5173 ‘Conservation des Espèces, Restauration et Suivi des Populations’, CRBPO, 55 Rue Buffon, 75005 Paris, France and
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*Correspondence: Vincent Devictor, CNRS-MNHN-PARIS VI. UMR-5173 ‘Conservation des Espèces, Restauration et Suivi des Populations’, CRBPO, 55 Rue Buffon, 75005 Paris, France. E-mail: devictor@mnhn.fr

ABSTRACT

Aim  Worldwide, functional homogenization is now considered to be one of the most prominent forms of biotic impoverishment induced by current global changes. Yet this process has hardly been quantified on a large scale through simple indices, and the connection between landscape disturbance and functional homogenization has hardly been established. Here we test whether changes in land use and landscape fragmentation are associated with functional homogenization of bird communities at a national scale.

Location  France.

Methods  We estimated functional homogenization of a community as the average specialization of the species present in that community. We studied the spatial variation of this community specialization index (CSI) using 1028 replicates from the French Breeding Bird Survey along spatial gradients of landscape fragmentation and recent landscape disturbance, measured independently, and accounting for spatial autocorrelation.

Results  The CSI was very sensitive to both measures of environmental degradation: on average, 23% of the difference in the CSI values between two sample sites was attributed to the difference in fragmentation and the disturbance between sites. This negative correlation between CSI and sources of landscape degradation was consistent over various habitats and biogeographical zones.

Main conclusions  We demonstrate that the functional homogenization of bird communities is strongly positively correlated to landscape disturbance and fragmentation. We suggest that the CSI is particularly effective for measuring functional homogenization on both local and global scales for any sort of organism and with abundance or presence–absence data.

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