The Independent Effects of Forest Amount, Fragmentation and Structural Connectivity on Small Mammals' Diversity, Abundance and Occurrence

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  • Although habitat amount, fragmentation, and connectivity are thought to be important drivers of biodiversity, their independent effects have not been evaluated. We selected 70 forested sites in Ontario, Canada, such that forest amount, fragmentation (number of patches), and structural connectivity (treed corridors) in the surrounding landscapes were uncorrelated. We surveyed forest small mammals at each site and estimated the relative effects of the three landscape variables on individual species' abundance and occurrence and total species diversity. Most responses had high variability, with 95% confidence intervals crossing zero. Configuration variables (fragmentation and connectivity) generally had stronger effects on small mammals than forest amount. Fragmentation increased small mammal diversity but had variable effects on individual species responses. Unexpectedly, species diversity and individual species occurrence declined with structural connectivity. Therefore, landscape management aimed at decreasing fragmentation or increasing structural connectivity will not benefit all forest small mammals in this region.

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  • Copyright © 2022 the author(s). Theses may be used for non-commercial research, educational, or related academic purposes only. Such uses include personal study, research, scholarship, and teaching. Theses may only be shared by linking to Carleton University Institutional Repository and no part may be used without proper attribution to the author. No part may be used for commercial purposes directly or indirectly via a for-profit platform; no adaptation or derivative works are permitted without consent from the copyright owner.
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  • 2022


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