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The spatial and temporal components of functional connectivity in fragmented landscapes.

Auffret AG, Plue J, Cousins SA - Ambio (2015)

Bottom Line: Whereas functional connectivity is often associated with spatial patterns (spatial functional connectivity), temporal functional connectivity relates to the persistence of organisms in time, in the same place.Both temporal and spatial processes determine biodiversity responses to changes in landscape structure, and it is therefore necessary that all aspects of connectivity are considered together.In this perspective, we use a case study to outline why we believe that both the spatial and temporal components of functional connectivity are important for understanding biodiversity patterns in the present-day landscape, and how they can also help us to make better-informed decisions about conserving and restoring landscapes and improving resilience to future change.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Landscape Ecology, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm University, 106 91, Stockholm, Sweden, alistair.auffret@natgeo.su.se.

ABSTRACT
Connectivity is key for understanding how ecological systems respond to the challenges of land-use change and habitat fragmentation. Structural and functional connectivity are both established concepts in ecology, but the temporal component of connectivity deserves more attention. Whereas functional connectivity is often associated with spatial patterns (spatial functional connectivity), temporal functional connectivity relates to the persistence of organisms in time, in the same place. Both temporal and spatial processes determine biodiversity responses to changes in landscape structure, and it is therefore necessary that all aspects of connectivity are considered together. In this perspective, we use a case study to outline why we believe that both the spatial and temporal components of functional connectivity are important for understanding biodiversity patterns in the present-day landscape, and how they can also help us to make better-informed decisions about conserving and restoring landscapes and improving resilience to future change.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Present-day photograph from an area of Selaön, southeastern Sweden (left) with interpretation of grassland habitat (right, until dashed line). Very little managed semi-natural grassland is left, but grassland communities can still persist in both abandoned grasslands of various sizes and in road verges. Modern grasslands are less species-rich than historical grasslands, but all additional features can contribute to increased connectivity in the landscape
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Fig3: Present-day photograph from an area of Selaön, southeastern Sweden (left) with interpretation of grassland habitat (right, until dashed line). Very little managed semi-natural grassland is left, but grassland communities can still persist in both abandoned grasslands of various sizes and in road verges. Modern grasslands are less species-rich than historical grasslands, but all additional features can contribute to increased connectivity in the landscape

Mentions: These land-use trajectories naturally have diverse effects on grassland structural connectivity. Most pervasive is the large decline in grassland area due to the direct conversion to arable fields and forest plantations, and the more indirect forest succession resulting from grazing abandonment (Figs. 1, 2). This habitat loss is magnified as remaining grasslands are smaller, interpatch distances larger, and the intensive agri- and silvicultural management results in a more hostile matrix. Plant species richness declines strongly following grassland abandonment (Cousins and Eriksson 2008), while conversion to agri- and silviculture effectively eliminates grassland communities. What is left besides a limited number of smaller grasslands are small bedrock outcrops and linear habitats which can act as small refugia for a subset of robust and drought-tolerant grassland species in an otherwise hostile landscape (Fig. 3; Cousins 2006). Although marginal in surface area, they act as reservoirs of species diversity, an effect most pronounced in highly fragmented landscapes such as Selaön (Lindborg et al. 2014), while linear elements can additionally provide structural connectivity between grassland habitats (Auffret and Cousins 2013). As losses in structural connectivity often provide the background to the functional responses of organisms, this dramatic change in the availability of semi-natural grassland will have significant effects on the long-term survival of plant species reliant upon these grassland habitats.Fig. 2


The spatial and temporal components of functional connectivity in fragmented landscapes.

Auffret AG, Plue J, Cousins SA - Ambio (2015)

Present-day photograph from an area of Selaön, southeastern Sweden (left) with interpretation of grassland habitat (right, until dashed line). Very little managed semi-natural grassland is left, but grassland communities can still persist in both abandoned grasslands of various sizes and in road verges. Modern grasslands are less species-rich than historical grasslands, but all additional features can contribute to increased connectivity in the landscape
© Copyright Policy - OpenAccess
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4289002&req=5

Fig3: Present-day photograph from an area of Selaön, southeastern Sweden (left) with interpretation of grassland habitat (right, until dashed line). Very little managed semi-natural grassland is left, but grassland communities can still persist in both abandoned grasslands of various sizes and in road verges. Modern grasslands are less species-rich than historical grasslands, but all additional features can contribute to increased connectivity in the landscape
Mentions: These land-use trajectories naturally have diverse effects on grassland structural connectivity. Most pervasive is the large decline in grassland area due to the direct conversion to arable fields and forest plantations, and the more indirect forest succession resulting from grazing abandonment (Figs. 1, 2). This habitat loss is magnified as remaining grasslands are smaller, interpatch distances larger, and the intensive agri- and silvicultural management results in a more hostile matrix. Plant species richness declines strongly following grassland abandonment (Cousins and Eriksson 2008), while conversion to agri- and silviculture effectively eliminates grassland communities. What is left besides a limited number of smaller grasslands are small bedrock outcrops and linear habitats which can act as small refugia for a subset of robust and drought-tolerant grassland species in an otherwise hostile landscape (Fig. 3; Cousins 2006). Although marginal in surface area, they act as reservoirs of species diversity, an effect most pronounced in highly fragmented landscapes such as Selaön (Lindborg et al. 2014), while linear elements can additionally provide structural connectivity between grassland habitats (Auffret and Cousins 2013). As losses in structural connectivity often provide the background to the functional responses of organisms, this dramatic change in the availability of semi-natural grassland will have significant effects on the long-term survival of plant species reliant upon these grassland habitats.Fig. 2

Bottom Line: Whereas functional connectivity is often associated with spatial patterns (spatial functional connectivity), temporal functional connectivity relates to the persistence of organisms in time, in the same place.Both temporal and spatial processes determine biodiversity responses to changes in landscape structure, and it is therefore necessary that all aspects of connectivity are considered together.In this perspective, we use a case study to outline why we believe that both the spatial and temporal components of functional connectivity are important for understanding biodiversity patterns in the present-day landscape, and how they can also help us to make better-informed decisions about conserving and restoring landscapes and improving resilience to future change.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Landscape Ecology, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm University, 106 91, Stockholm, Sweden, alistair.auffret@natgeo.su.se.

ABSTRACT
Connectivity is key for understanding how ecological systems respond to the challenges of land-use change and habitat fragmentation. Structural and functional connectivity are both established concepts in ecology, but the temporal component of connectivity deserves more attention. Whereas functional connectivity is often associated with spatial patterns (spatial functional connectivity), temporal functional connectivity relates to the persistence of organisms in time, in the same place. Both temporal and spatial processes determine biodiversity responses to changes in landscape structure, and it is therefore necessary that all aspects of connectivity are considered together. In this perspective, we use a case study to outline why we believe that both the spatial and temporal components of functional connectivity are important for understanding biodiversity patterns in the present-day landscape, and how they can also help us to make better-informed decisions about conserving and restoring landscapes and improving resilience to future change.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus