Studies on the effect of forest loss and fragmentation on plant species richness at different spatial scales have yielded contradictory results that have been attributed to different ways to measure fragmentation. The main goal of this study was to investigate the independent and combined effects of forest loss and habitat fragmentation on woody species richness. Woody species were grouped according to their habitat requirements (forest specialists, forest generalists, non-forest and total woody species). We used regression models to investigate the effect of fragmentation and human occupation on woody species richness. The underlying factors were investigated by partitioning of the variation, i.e. decomposing the variation in species richness between the pure effects of forest loss, fragmentation and human occupation. The relationship between species richness and forest loss resulted extremely non-linear. The models for forest specialist, generalist and total woody species richness accounted for 35%, 31% and 33% of the total variance respectively. Model for non-forest species richness only accounted for 7% of the total variance. The largest fraction of variability in species richness was accounted by fragmentation variables for all groups (except for non-forest species). Results emphasize the larger independent effect of fragmentation over forest loss, suggesting that species variation is mainly conditioned by the spatial configuration of the habitat.
- Habitat fragmentation
- Habitat loss
- Species richness
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Nature and Landscape Conservation
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law