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Restored and artificial wetlands do not support the same waterbird functional diversity as natural wetlands

The restoration of degraded areas and the creation of artificial ecosystems have partially compensated for the continuing loss of natural wetlands. However, the success of these wetlands in terms of the capacity of supporting biodiversity and ecosystem functions is unclear. Natural, restored, and artificially created wetlands present within the Doñana protected area were compared to evaluate if they are equivalent in terms of waterbird functional trait diversity and composition. Functional diversity measures and functional group species richness describing species diet, body mass, and foraging techniques were modelled in 20 wetlands in wintering and breeding seasons. Artificial wetlands constructed for conservation failed to reach the functional diversity of natural and restored wetlands. Unexpectedly, artificial ponds constructed for fish production performed better, and even exceeded natural wetlands for functional richness during winter. Fish ponds stood out as having a unique functional composition, connected with an increase in richness of opportunistic gulls and a decrease in species sensitive to high salinity. Overall, the functional structure of breeding communities was more affected by wetland type than wintering communities. These findings suggest that compensating the loss of natural wetlands with restored and artificial wetlands results in systems with altered waterbird?supported functions. Protection of natural Mediterranean wetlands is vital to maintain the original diversity and composition of waterbird functional traits. Furthermore, restoration must be prioritised over the creation of artificial wetlands, which, even when intended for conservation, may not provide an adequate replacement. informacion[at] Almeida et al. (2020) Comparing the diversity and composition of waterbird functional traits between natural, restored, and artificial wetlands. Freshwater Biology DOI 10.1111/fwb.13618
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The resistance of Mediterranean shrubland to climatic variability

The resistance of Mediterranean shrubland to climatic variability

Understanding how different factors mediate the resistance of communities to climatic variability is a question of considerable ecological interest that remains mostly unresolved. This is particularly remarkable to improve predictions about the impact of climate change on vegetation. Here, a trait-based approach is used to analyse the sensitivity to climatic variability over 9 years of 19 Mediterranean shrubland communities located in southwest Spain. The role of functional diversity (FD) and soil environment as drivers of community stability is evaluated. The studied shrubland communities were strongly sensitive to inter-annual variability in climate. First, colder and drier conditions caused remarkable decreases in total plant cover but increased FD, likely because the reduction of plant cover after harsh climatic conditions promoted the expansion of functionally dissimilar species in the new open microsites; although communities returned to their initial values of plant cover after nine years, changes in FD and structure persisted over time. Second, drier and colder conditions favoured the predominance of shrubs with a conservative resource-use strategy, bigger seeds and a more efficient use of water. The most functionally diverse communities were the most stable over time in terms of species diversity, likely because a higher number of functionally dissimilar species allowed compensatory dynamics among them. Communities inhabiting more acidic and resource-limited environments were less variable over time, probably because they were mainly constituted by slow-growth, stress-tolerant species that are potentially better adapted to harsh climatic conditions. This study, using data from the Long-Term Monitoring Program of Doñana Natural Space, highlights the utility of a trait-based approach to evaluate how plant communities respond to climatic variability. The increased frequency of extreme climatic events predicted by climatic models will alter the functional structure of shrubland communities, with potential repercussions for ecosystem functioning. These results also provide new insights into the role of FD and soil environment as buffers of the climate impact on woody communities, as well as potentially useful information to be applied in ecologically based management and restoration strategies. Pérez-Ramos et al (2017) Climate variability and community stability in Mediterranean shrublands: the role of functional diversity and soil environment. J Ecol doi:10.1111/1365-2745.12747;jsessionid=9973907E998034820261E1915740091E.f04t02