Publication details.


Author(s):A. Magrach, A.R. Larrinaga, L. Santamaría
Title:Internal Habitat Quality Determines the Effects of Fragmentation on Austral Forest Climbing and Epiphytic Angiosperms
Journal:PLoS One
JCR Impact Factor:3.73
Issue No.:10

Habitat fragmentation has become one of the major threats to biodiversity worldwide, particularly in the case of forests, which have suffered enormous losses during the past decades. We analyzed how changes in patch configuration and habitat quality derived from the fragmentation of austral temperate rainforests affect the distribution of six species of forest-dwelling climbing and epiphytic angiosperms. Epiphyte and vine abundance is primarily affected by the internal characteristics of patches (such as tree size, the presence of logging gaps or the proximity to patch edges) rather than patch and landscape features (such as patch size, shape or connectivity). These responses were intimately related to species-specific characteristics such as drought- or shade-tolerance. Our study therefore suggests that plant responses to fragmentation are contingent on both the species' ecology and the specific pathways through which the study area is being fragmented, (i.e. extensive logging that shaped the boundaries of current forest patches plus recent, unregulated logging that creates gaps within patches). Management practices in fragmented landscapes should therefore consider habitat quality within patches together with other spatial attributes at landscape or patch scales.