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Transporting Biodiversity Using Transmission Power Lines as Stepping-Stones

The most common ecological response to climate change is the shifts in species distribution ranges. Nevertheless, landscape fragmentation compromises the ability of limited dispersal species to move following these climate changes. Building connected environments that enable species to track climate changes is an ultimate goal for biodiversity conservation. An experiment was conducted to determine if electric power transmission lines could be transformed in a continental network of biodiversity reserves for small animals. The study analysed if the management of the habitat located inside the base of the transmission electric towers (providing refuge and planting seedlings of native shrub) allowed to increase local richness of target species (i.e., small mammals and some invertebrates' groups). The results confirmed that by modifying the base of the electric transmission towers density and diversity of several species of invertebrates and small mammals increased as well as number of birds and bird species, increasing local biodiversity. The study suggests that modifying the base of the electric towers would potentially facilitate the connection of fragmented populations. This idea would be easily applicable in any transmission line network anywhere around the world, making it possible for the first time to build up continental scale networks of connectivity. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: Ferrer et al (2020) Transporting Biodiversity Using Transmission Power Lines as Stepping-Stones? Diversity 12(11): 439; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12110439

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Plant species abundance and phylogeny explain the structure of recruitment networks

Plant species abundance and phylogeny explain the structure of recruitment networks

Established plants can affect the recruitment of young plants, filtering out some and allowing the recruitment of others, with profound effects on plant community dynamics. Recruitment networks (RNs) depict which species recruit under which others. Here, whether species abundance and phylogenetic distance explain the structure of RNs across communities is investigated. The frequency of canopy–recruit interactions among woody plants in 10 forest assemblages to describe their RNs is estimated. For each RN, authors determined the functional form (linear, power or exponential) best describing the relationship of interaction frequency with three predictors: canopy species abundance, recruit species abundance and phylogenetic distance. Models were fitted with all combinations of predictor variables, from which RNs were simulated. The best functional form of each predictor was the same in most communities (linear for canopy species abundance, power for recruit species abundance and exponential for phylogenetic distance). The model including all predictor variables was consistently the best in explaining interaction frequency and showed the best performance in predicting RN structure. Results suggest that mechanisms related to species abundance are necessary but insufficient to explain the assembly of RNs. Evolutionary processes affecting phylogenetic divergence are critical determinants of RN structure. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: Alcántara et al (2019) Plant species abundance and phylogeny explain the structure of recruitment networks. New Phytol doi: 10.1111/nph.15774

 


https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30843205