Meta-analysis of the effects of forest fragmentation on interspecific interactions

Magrach, Ainhoa, Laurance, William F., Larrinaga, Asier R., and Santamaria, Luis (2014) Meta-analysis of the effects of forest fragmentation on interspecific interactions. Conservation Biology, 28 (5). pp. 1342-1348.

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Forest fragmentation dramatically alters species persistence and distribution and affects many ecological interactions among species. Recent studies suggest that mutualisms, such as pollination and seed dispersal, are more sensitive to the negative effects of forest fragmentation than antagonisms, such as predation or herbivory. We applied meta-analytical techniques to evaluate this hypothesis and quantified the relative contributions of different components of the fragmentation process (decreases in fragment size, edge effects, increased isolation, and habitat degradation) to the overall effect. The effects of fragmentation on mutualisms were primarily driven by habitat degradation, edge effects, and fragment isolation, and, as predicted, they were consistently more negative on mutualisms than on antagonisms. For the most studied interaction type, seed dispersal, only certain components of fragmentation had significant (edge effects) or marginally significant (fragment size) effects. Seed size modulated the effect of fragmentation: species with large seeds showed stronger negative impacts of fragmentation via reduced dispersal rates. Our results reveal that different components of the habitat fragmentation process have varying impacts on key mutualisms. We also conclude that antagonistic interactions have been understudied in fragmented landscapes, most of the research has concentrated on particular types of mutualistic interactions such as seed dispersal, and that available studies of interspecific interactions have a strong geographical bias (arising mostly from studies carried out in Brazil, Chile, and the United States).

Item ID: 35485
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1523-1739
Keywords: antagonism, edge effects, forest fragmentation, fragment size, meta-analysis, mutualism, species interactions
Funders: Basque Country Government, Australian Laureate Fellowship, Australian Research Council (ARC), Spanish Research Council, European Science Fund
Date Deposited: 30 Sep 2014 05:50
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960899 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity of Environments not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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