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Landscape-scale forest loss as a catalyst of population and biodiversity change

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Abstract

Global assessments have highlighted land-use change as a key driver of biodiversity change. However, we lack real-world global-scale estimates of how habitat transformations such as forest loss and gain are reshaping biodiversity over time. Here, we quantify the influence of 150 years of forest cover change on populations and ecological assemblages worldwide and across taxa by analyzing change in 6,667 time series. We found that forest loss simultaneously intensified ongoing increases and decreases in abundance, species richness and temporal species replacement (turnover) by up to 48%. Temporal lags in these responses extended up to 50 years and increased with species’ generation time. Our findings demonstrate that land-use change precipitates divergent population and biodiversity change, highlighting the complex biotic consequences of deforestation and afforestation.One Sentence Summary Declines in forest cover amplify both gains and losses in population abundance and biodiversity over time.
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Original languageEnglish
PublisherbioRxiv
Number of pages23
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2019

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