Global effects of land use on local terrestrial biodiversity

Newbold, Tim, Hudson, Lawrence N, Hill, Samantha L L, Contu, Sara, Lysenko, Igor, Senior, Rebecca A, Börger, Luca, Bennett, Dominic J, Choimes, Argyrios, Collen, Ben, Day, Julie, De Palma, Adriana, Díaz, Sandra, Echeverria-Londoño, Susy, Edgar, Melanie J, Feldman, Anat, Garon, Morgan, Harrison, Michelle L K, Alhusseini, Tamera, Ingram, Daniel John, Itescu, Yuval, Kattge, Jens, Kemp, Victoria, Kirkpatrick, Lucinda, Kleyer, Michael, Correia, David Laginha Pinto, Martin, Callum D, Meiri, Shai, Novosolov, Maria, Pan, Yuan, Phillips, Helen R P, Purves, Drew W, Robinson, Alexandra, Simpson, Jake, Tuck, Sean L, Weiher, Evan, White, Hannah J, Ewers, Robert M, Mace, Georgina M, Scharlemann, Jörn P W and Purvis, Andy (2015) Global effects of land use on local terrestrial biodiversity. Nature, 520 (7545). pp. 45-50. ISSN 0028-0836

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Human activities, especially conversion and degradation of habitats, are causing global biodiversity declines. How local ecological assemblages are responding is less clear—a concern given their importance for many ecosystem functions and services. We analysed a terrestrial assemblage database of unprecedented geographic and taxonomic coverage to quantify local biodiversity responses to land use and related changes. Here we show that in the worst-affected habitats, these pressures reduce within-sample species richness by an average of 76.5%, total abundance by 39.5% and rarefaction-based richness by 40.3%. We estimate that, globally, these pressures have already slightly reduced average within-sample richness (by 13.6%), total abundance (10.7%) and rarefaction-based richness (8.1%), with changes showing marked spatial variation. Rapid further losses are predicted under a business-as-usual land-use scenario; within-sample richness is projected to fall by a further 3.4% globally by 2100, with losses concentrated in biodiverse but economically poor countries. Strong mitigation can deliver much more positive biodiversity changes (up to a 1.9% average increase) that are less strongly related to countries' socioeconomic status.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Evolution, Behaviour and Environment
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH0001 Natural history (General) > QH0075 Nature conservation
Depositing User: Jorn Scharlemann
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2015 08:20
Last Modified: 06 Mar 2017 07:58

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