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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] Ferrer et al (2020) Transporting Biodiversity Using Transmission Power Lines as Stepping-Stones? Diversity 12(11): 439;

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The role of different factors in the invasion success of current avian introductions

The role of different factors in the invasion success of current avian introductions

Understanding factors driving successful invasions is one of the cornerstones of invasion biology. Bird invasions have been frequently used as study models, and the foundation of current knowledge largely relies on species purposefully introduced during the 19th and early 20th centuries in countries colonized by Europeans. However, the profile of exotic bird species has changed radically in the last decades, as birds are now mostly introduced into the invasion process through unplanned releases from the worldwide pet and avicultural trade. The role of the three main drivers of invasion success (i.e., event-, species-, and location-level factors) on the establishment and spatial spread of exotic birds was assessed using an unprecedented dataset recorded throughout the last 100 y in the Iberian Peninsula. The multimodel inference phylogenetic approach showed that the barriers that need to be overcome by a species to successfully establish or spread are not the same. Whereas establishment is largely related to event-level factors, apparently stochastic features of the introduction (time since first introduction and propagule pressure) and to the origin of introduced species (wild-caught species show higher invasiveness than captive-bred ones), the spread across the invaded region seems to be determined by the extent to which climatic conditions in the new region resemble those of the species' native range. Overall, these results contrast with what we learned from successful deliberate introductions and highlight that different management interventions should apply at different invasion stages, the most efficient strategies being related to event-level factors. informacion[at] Abellán et al (2017) Climate matching drives spread rate but not establishment success in recent unintentional bird introductions. PNAS doi: 10.1073/pnas.1704815114