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Ongoing accumulation of plant diversity through habitat connectivity in an 18-year experiment.

08:00 EDT 27th September 2019 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Ongoing accumulation of plant diversity through habitat connectivity in an 18-year experiment."

Deleterious effects of habitat fragmentation and benefits of connecting fragments could be significantly underestimated because changes in colonization and extinction rates that drive changes in biodiversity can take decades to accrue. In a large and well-replicated habitat fragmentation experiment, we find that annual colonization rates for 239 plant species in connected fragments are 5% higher and annual extinction rates 2% lower than in unconnected fragments. This has resulted in a steady, nonasymptotic increase in diversity, with nearly 14% more species in connected fragments after almost two decades. Our results show that the full biodiversity value of connectivity is much greater than previously estimated, cannot be effectively evaluated at short time scales, and can be maximized by connecting habitat sooner rather than later.

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This article was published in the following journal.

Name: Science (New York, N.Y.)
ISSN: 1095-9203
Pages: 1478-1480

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