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African species response to land use change: Assessing the match between an Africa-wide model and fine-scale field data

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posted on 01.12.2015, 00:28 by Martin JungMartin Jung, Tim Newbold, Neil Burgess

Anthropogenic land-use change is known to have severe impacts on biodiversity worldwide. In order to efficiently combat biodiversity loss and sustain the provision of ecosystem services, scientists as well as policy makers need to be able to predict species and species community responses to land-use trends. In the past different attempts both on large- and regional-scale have been made to investigate responses to land-use. Here we present a first comparison of model results between an African-wide meta-analytical framework and an independent field study.

Africa has long been a focus of conservationists owing to its high spatial clustering of both biodiversity and human population leading to greater number of human-wildlife conflicts. Data on species- and community-level responses to a range of anthropogenic pressures from all over Africa were taken from the literature. Additional independent data on the diversity and abundance of African birds were collected during a two months field survey on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro and the Taita Hills. Both datasets are modeled and compared to see if similar conclusions are reached. The results advance our understanding of how well predictions of large-scale models are reflected in local biodiversity studies and vice versa.