Land-use change interacts with island biogeography to alter bird community assembly

Zhao, Y., Mendenhall, C.D., Matthews, T.J., et al. (2024) Land-use change interacts with island biogeography to alter bird community assembly.

Proceedings of The Royal Society B-Biological Sciences, 291, 20232245. DOI:10.1098/rspb.2023.2245 (IF2022 4,7; Q1 Biology)
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  • Mar, 2024


Anthropogenic activities have reshaped biodiversity on islands worldwide. However, it remains unclear how island attributes and land-use change interactively shape multiple facets of island biodiversity through community assembly processes. To answer this, we conducted bird surveys in various land-use types (mainly forest and farmland) using transects on 34 oceanic land-bridge islands in the largest archipelago of China. We found that bird species richness increased with island area and decreased with isolation, regardless of the intensity of land-use change. However, forest-dominated habitats exhibited lower richness than farmland-dominated habitats. Island bird assemblages generally comprised species that share more similar traits or evolutionary histories (i.e. functional and/or phylogenetic clustering) than expected if assemblages were randomly assembled. Contrary to our expectations, we observed that bird assemblages in forest-dominated habitats were more clustered on large and close islands, whereas assemblages in farmland-dominated habitats were more clustered on small islands. These contrasting results indicate that land-use change interacts with island biogeography to alter the community assembly of birds on inhabited islands. Our findings emphasize the importance of incorporating human-modified habitats when examining the community assembly of island biota, and further suggest that agricultural landscapes on large islands may play essential roles in protecting countryside island biodiversity.