Abrupt land change events alter biodiversity
Abrupt land change, such as deforestation or agricultural intensification, is a key driver of biodiversity change. Following abrupt land change, local biodiversity often continues to be influenced through biotic lag effects. However, current understanding of how terrestrial biodiversity is impacted by past abrupt land changes is incomplete. Here we show that abrupt land change in the past continues to influence present species assemblages globally. We combine geographically and taxonomically broad data on local biodiversity with quantitative estimates of abrupt land change detected within time series of satellite imagery from 1982 to 2015. Species richness and abundance were 4.2% and 2% lower, respectively, and assemblage composition was altered at sites with an abrupt land change compared to unchanged sites, although impacts differed among taxonomic groups. Biodiversity recovered to levels comparable to unchanged sites after >10 years. Ignoring delayed impacts of abrupt land changes likely results in incomplete assessments of biodiversity change.
Poster presented at the University of Sussex EBE Postgraduate day. Received price for best and cleanest poster.
Based on published work by Jung et al.