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Challenges with inferring how land-use affects terrestrial biodiversity: Study design, time, space and synthesis

Challenges with inferring how land-use affects terrestrial biodiversity: Study design, time, space and synthesis
Challenges with inferring how land-use affects terrestrial biodiversity: Study design, time, space and synthesis

Land use has already reshaped local biodiversity on Earth, with effects expected to increase as human populations continue to grow in both numbers and prosperity. An accurate depiction of the state of biodiversity on our planet, combined with identifying the mechanisms driving local biodiversity change, underpins our ability to predict how different societal priorities and actions will influence biodiversity trajectories. Quantitative syntheses provide a fundamental tool by taking information from multiple sources to identify generalisable patterns. However, syntheses, by definition, combine data sources that have fundamentally different purposes, contexts, designs and sources of error and bias; they may thus provide contradictory results, not because of the biological phenomena of interest, but due instead to combining diverse data. While much attention has been focussed on the use of space-for-time substitution methods to estimate the impact of land-use change on terrestrial biodiversity, we show that the most common study designs all face challenges-either conceptual or logistical-that may lead to faulty inferences and ultimately mislead quantitative syntheses. We outline these study designs along with their advantages and difficulties, and how quantitative syntheses can combine the strengths of each class of design.

Alpha diversity, Ecological synthesis, Experimental design, Global change, Human impacts, Space-for-space substitution, Space-for-time substitution, Time-for-time substitution
0065-2504
De Palma, Adriana
c5c130ca-4637-4438-a7ea-780c90b68f56
Sanchez Ortiz, Katia
478872da-245f-45d8-9b41-1d6319228d63
Martin, Phillip A.
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Chadwick, Amy
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Gilbert, Guillermo
d4244f76-f423-4364-81bc-64d85b03b65d
Bates, Amanda E.
a96e267d-6d22-4232-b7ed-ce4e448a2a34
Börger, Luca
571128cb-afd1-450c-b515-9323e7942807
Contu, Sara
27468f6d-4481-4f7c-b9a6-996d041fc009
Hill, Samantha L.L.
f65fbcdd-4c18-4b96-bae2-f43045982b6e
Purvis, Andy
ea5716f3-8fdf-4275-8c67-578005614348
De Palma, Adriana
c5c130ca-4637-4438-a7ea-780c90b68f56
Sanchez Ortiz, Katia
478872da-245f-45d8-9b41-1d6319228d63
Martin, Phillip A.
2a75e8c6-1b32-40c3-a31c-39753a0cda2f
Chadwick, Amy
89147a5f-910b-4613-8cc7-2a9fe111353d
Gilbert, Guillermo
d4244f76-f423-4364-81bc-64d85b03b65d
Bates, Amanda E.
a96e267d-6d22-4232-b7ed-ce4e448a2a34
Börger, Luca
571128cb-afd1-450c-b515-9323e7942807
Contu, Sara
27468f6d-4481-4f7c-b9a6-996d041fc009
Hill, Samantha L.L.
f65fbcdd-4c18-4b96-bae2-f43045982b6e
Purvis, Andy
ea5716f3-8fdf-4275-8c67-578005614348

De Palma, Adriana, Sanchez Ortiz, Katia, Martin, Phillip A., Chadwick, Amy, Gilbert, Guillermo, Bates, Amanda E., Börger, Luca, Contu, Sara, Hill, Samantha L.L. and Purvis, Andy (2018) Challenges with inferring how land-use affects terrestrial biodiversity: Study design, time, space and synthesis. Advances in Ecological Research. (doi:10.1016/bs.aecr.2017.12.004).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Land use has already reshaped local biodiversity on Earth, with effects expected to increase as human populations continue to grow in both numbers and prosperity. An accurate depiction of the state of biodiversity on our planet, combined with identifying the mechanisms driving local biodiversity change, underpins our ability to predict how different societal priorities and actions will influence biodiversity trajectories. Quantitative syntheses provide a fundamental tool by taking information from multiple sources to identify generalisable patterns. However, syntheses, by definition, combine data sources that have fundamentally different purposes, contexts, designs and sources of error and bias; they may thus provide contradictory results, not because of the biological phenomena of interest, but due instead to combining diverse data. While much attention has been focussed on the use of space-for-time substitution methods to estimate the impact of land-use change on terrestrial biodiversity, we show that the most common study designs all face challenges-either conceptual or logistical-that may lead to faulty inferences and ultimately mislead quantitative syntheses. We outline these study designs along with their advantages and difficulties, and how quantitative syntheses can combine the strengths of each class of design.

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More information

e-pub ahead of print date: 3 February 2018
Keywords: Alpha diversity, Ecological synthesis, Experimental design, Global change, Human impacts, Space-for-space substitution, Space-for-time substitution, Time-for-time substitution

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 418081
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/418081
ISSN: 0065-2504
PURE UUID: 35826670-fa92-4806-9431-e6892cdb4a27

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 22 Feb 2018 17:30
Last modified: 07 Aug 2018 16:32

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