Area mediated shifts in bird community composition: a study on a fragmented Mediterranean grassland

Caplat, Paul and Fonderflick, Jocelyn (2009) Area mediated shifts in bird community composition: a study on a fragmented Mediterranean grassland. Biodiversity and Conservation, 18 11: 2979-2995. doi:10.1007/s10531-009-9620-8

Author Caplat, Paul
Fonderflick, Jocelyn
Title Area mediated shifts in bird community composition: a study on a fragmented Mediterranean grassland
Journal name Biodiversity and Conservation   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0960-3115
Publication date 2009
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s10531-009-9620-8
Volume 18
Issue 11
Start page 2979
End page 2995
Total pages 17
Place of publication The Netherlands
Publisher Springer Netherlands
Language eng
Subject 06 Biological Sciences
Formatted abstract
The effects of habitat fragmentation on birds have often been studied in forest specialist species. Here we aimed at comparing the response of open habitat birds within a range of habitat specialization. The study area was a Mediterranean pseudo-steppe, designated as important for conservation yet fragmented by tree encroachment. We defined bird species dependency on steppe-like habitat by a correspondence analysis, allowing us to distinguish between specialists, generalists and scrubland species. We studied species abundance in relation to fragment area, testing whether species representation in fragments differed from those in continuous habitat. This analysis showed a contrasted response to fragment size between “open habitat” specialist species and generalist ones. Open habitat species were under-represented in the smallest fragments, while generalist were over-represented in small fragments in comparison to their distribution in continuous habitats. We discuss how these results can be linked to species habitat requirements. We find that scrubland species seem to be favoured by encroachment of woody vegetation, as they are able to explore and use the wooded matrix; however specialist species are restricted to open patches and are sensitive to a reduction in patch size. This allows us to predict how different species can exhibit a different sensitivity to habitat fragmentation.
Keyword Breeding birds
Community composition
Conservation biology
Habitat generalist
Habitat specialist
Mediterranean mountain
Species distribution
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Biological Sciences Publications
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