Using functional connectivity to predict potential meta-population sizes in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest

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Title: Using functional connectivity to predict potential meta-population sizes in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest
Authors: Hatfield, JH
Orme, CDL
Banks-Leite, C
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: Habitat loss and fragmentation reduce population sizes and increase isolation between populations. To better understand how functional connectivity is affected by habitat modification over large scales, we here applied a meta-population framework to the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, a highly degraded and fragmented biodiversity hotspot. Other studies have used mainly hypothetical or estimated dispersal values for connectivity calculation which may not be reflective of species requirements. Here, we collated dispersal values for 45 species of birds, 5 mammals and 4 insects and found that 50% of the Atlantic Forest species can cross only up to 150 m of open gaps between forest patches. Because of the high levels of fragmentation, the median size of a functionally connected network of fragments in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest only decreased from 15 ha to 14 ha when the crossable distance considered was reduced from 150 m to 0 m. We show that for species solely reliant on native forest habitat, a large proportion of the remaining Atlantic Forest fragments represent many small and isolated populations with few large connected areas. Our results support further evidence that for future management and restoration to be successful, existing connectivity must be vastly improved to provide forest areas large enough to support viable populations.
Issue Date: 10-Nov-2018
Date of Acceptance: 29-Oct-2018
ISSN: 2530-0644
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Start Page: 215
End Page: 220
Journal / Book Title: Perspectives in Ecology and Conservation
Volume: 16
Issue: 4
Copyright Statement: © 2018 Associacao Brasileira de Ciencia Ecologica e Conservacao. Published by Elsevier Editora Ltda. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (
Sponsor/Funder: Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
Funder's Grant Number: NE/K016393/1
Publication Status: Published
Open Access location:
Online Publication Date: 2018-11-10
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Natural Sciences

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