Patterns and drivers of long-term changes in breeding bird communities in a global biodiversity hotspot in Mexico

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Abstract

Aim: To evaluate changes in breeding bird communities and assess implications for conservation. Location: Madrean Sky Islands and northern Sierra Madre Occidental, Mexico. Methods: I compared observations from recent fieldwork (2009–2012) with an extensive historical data set (1887–1954) and used modelling and multivariate techniques to assess spatiotemporal changes in species occurrence, richness and assemblage composition, and associations with climate, land use and landscape factors. Results: Breeding species richness peaked in larger ranges often in the south and east, and regional beta diversity was attributable much more to turnover (0.80) than nestedness (0.07). Although richness increased across time, spatial assemblage heterogeneity declined due only to changes in nestedness, with temporal shifts in beta diversity equally attributable to variation in nestedness and turnover. Community change was associated with variation in climate, land use and landscape factors in ways that depended on species’ traits. Major gains in Madrean and lowland Neotropical species from the south contrasted little change in Nearctic species, and there was some evidence lowland species expanded eastward into the higher-elevation interior, suggesting poleward and up-elevation shifts now occurring globally. Some such patterns were associated with increasing temperature and summer–fall precipitation typical of the south suggesting climate forcing. Despite regional gains in pine-dependent species linked to post-logging forest recovery, losses and turnover were greater in smaller more arid ranges due likely to climate-mediated habitat loss. High regional losses of cavity-nesting species in forest were greater in ranges subjected to past logging indicating effects of historical habitat degradation persist today. Main conclusion: Despite ongoing forest recovery and potential for northward range expansion to offset climate-mediated losses of montane species, further assemblage homogenization seems likely. Active forest restoration that promotes large old trees, snags and mature forest conditions combined with increasing the capacity of local communities to implement best management practices will enhance conservation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalDiversity and Distributions
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018

Fingerprint

long-term change
nestedness
Mexico
biodiversity
climate
birds
breeding
logging
lowlands
land use
turnover
forest restoration
snags
best management practices
homogenization
habitat destruction
Pinus
snag
species occurrence
climate forcing

Keywords

  • climate change
  • distributional change
  • land-use change
  • Madrean Sky Islands
  • Mexico
  • pine–oak woodland
  • Sierra Madre Occidental

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

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title = "Patterns and drivers of long-term changes in breeding bird communities in a global biodiversity hotspot in Mexico",
abstract = "Aim: To evaluate changes in breeding bird communities and assess implications for conservation. Location: Madrean Sky Islands and northern Sierra Madre Occidental, Mexico. Methods: I compared observations from recent fieldwork (2009–2012) with an extensive historical data set (1887–1954) and used modelling and multivariate techniques to assess spatiotemporal changes in species occurrence, richness and assemblage composition, and associations with climate, land use and landscape factors. Results: Breeding species richness peaked in larger ranges often in the south and east, and regional beta diversity was attributable much more to turnover (0.80) than nestedness (0.07). Although richness increased across time, spatial assemblage heterogeneity declined due only to changes in nestedness, with temporal shifts in beta diversity equally attributable to variation in nestedness and turnover. Community change was associated with variation in climate, land use and landscape factors in ways that depended on species’ traits. Major gains in Madrean and lowland Neotropical species from the south contrasted little change in Nearctic species, and there was some evidence lowland species expanded eastward into the higher-elevation interior, suggesting poleward and up-elevation shifts now occurring globally. Some such patterns were associated with increasing temperature and summer–fall precipitation typical of the south suggesting climate forcing. Despite regional gains in pine-dependent species linked to post-logging forest recovery, losses and turnover were greater in smaller more arid ranges due likely to climate-mediated habitat loss. High regional losses of cavity-nesting species in forest were greater in ranges subjected to past logging indicating effects of historical habitat degradation persist today. Main conclusion: Despite ongoing forest recovery and potential for northward range expansion to offset climate-mediated losses of montane species, further assemblage homogenization seems likely. Active forest restoration that promotes large old trees, snags and mature forest conditions combined with increasing the capacity of local communities to implement best management practices will enhance conservation.",
keywords = "climate change, distributional change, land-use change, Madrean Sky Islands, Mexico, pine–oak woodland, Sierra Madre Occidental",
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year = "2018",
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doi = "10.1111/ddi.12862",
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journal = "Diversity and Distributions",
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AU - Flesch, Aaron D

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N2 - Aim: To evaluate changes in breeding bird communities and assess implications for conservation. Location: Madrean Sky Islands and northern Sierra Madre Occidental, Mexico. Methods: I compared observations from recent fieldwork (2009–2012) with an extensive historical data set (1887–1954) and used modelling and multivariate techniques to assess spatiotemporal changes in species occurrence, richness and assemblage composition, and associations with climate, land use and landscape factors. Results: Breeding species richness peaked in larger ranges often in the south and east, and regional beta diversity was attributable much more to turnover (0.80) than nestedness (0.07). Although richness increased across time, spatial assemblage heterogeneity declined due only to changes in nestedness, with temporal shifts in beta diversity equally attributable to variation in nestedness and turnover. Community change was associated with variation in climate, land use and landscape factors in ways that depended on species’ traits. Major gains in Madrean and lowland Neotropical species from the south contrasted little change in Nearctic species, and there was some evidence lowland species expanded eastward into the higher-elevation interior, suggesting poleward and up-elevation shifts now occurring globally. Some such patterns were associated with increasing temperature and summer–fall precipitation typical of the south suggesting climate forcing. Despite regional gains in pine-dependent species linked to post-logging forest recovery, losses and turnover were greater in smaller more arid ranges due likely to climate-mediated habitat loss. High regional losses of cavity-nesting species in forest were greater in ranges subjected to past logging indicating effects of historical habitat degradation persist today. Main conclusion: Despite ongoing forest recovery and potential for northward range expansion to offset climate-mediated losses of montane species, further assemblage homogenization seems likely. Active forest restoration that promotes large old trees, snags and mature forest conditions combined with increasing the capacity of local communities to implement best management practices will enhance conservation.

AB - Aim: To evaluate changes in breeding bird communities and assess implications for conservation. Location: Madrean Sky Islands and northern Sierra Madre Occidental, Mexico. Methods: I compared observations from recent fieldwork (2009–2012) with an extensive historical data set (1887–1954) and used modelling and multivariate techniques to assess spatiotemporal changes in species occurrence, richness and assemblage composition, and associations with climate, land use and landscape factors. Results: Breeding species richness peaked in larger ranges often in the south and east, and regional beta diversity was attributable much more to turnover (0.80) than nestedness (0.07). Although richness increased across time, spatial assemblage heterogeneity declined due only to changes in nestedness, with temporal shifts in beta diversity equally attributable to variation in nestedness and turnover. Community change was associated with variation in climate, land use and landscape factors in ways that depended on species’ traits. Major gains in Madrean and lowland Neotropical species from the south contrasted little change in Nearctic species, and there was some evidence lowland species expanded eastward into the higher-elevation interior, suggesting poleward and up-elevation shifts now occurring globally. Some such patterns were associated with increasing temperature and summer–fall precipitation typical of the south suggesting climate forcing. Despite regional gains in pine-dependent species linked to post-logging forest recovery, losses and turnover were greater in smaller more arid ranges due likely to climate-mediated habitat loss. High regional losses of cavity-nesting species in forest were greater in ranges subjected to past logging indicating effects of historical habitat degradation persist today. Main conclusion: Despite ongoing forest recovery and potential for northward range expansion to offset climate-mediated losses of montane species, further assemblage homogenization seems likely. Active forest restoration that promotes large old trees, snags and mature forest conditions combined with increasing the capacity of local communities to implement best management practices will enhance conservation.

KW - climate change

KW - distributional change

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KW - Mexico

KW - pine–oak woodland

KW - Sierra Madre Occidental

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