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Impacts of habitat degradation on tropical montane biodiversity and ecosystem services: a systematic map for identifying future research priorities

Impacts of habitat degradation on tropical montane biodiversity and ecosystem services: a systematic map for identifying future research priorities
Impacts of habitat degradation on tropical montane biodiversity and ecosystem services: a systematic map for identifying future research priorities
Tropical montane forests (TMFs) are major centres of evolutionary change and harbour many endemic species with small geographic ranges. In this systematic map, we focus on the impacts of anthropogenic habitat degradation on TMFs globally. We first determine how TMF research is distributed across geographic regions, degradation type (i.e. deforestation, land-use conversion, habitat fragmentation, ecological level (i.e. ecosystem, community, population, genetic) and taxonomic group. Secondly, we summarize the impacts of habitat degradation on biodiversity and ecosystem services, and identify deficiencies in current knowledge. We show that habitat degradation in TMFs impacts biodiversity at all ecological levels and will be compounded by climate change. However, despite montane species being perceived as more extinction-prone due to their restricted geographic ranges, there are some indications of biotic resilience if the impacts to TMFs are less severe. Species richness and key species interactions can be maintained in mildly degraded sites, and gene flow can persist between TMF fragments. As such, minimally degraded areas such as secondary forests and restored areas could play a crucial role in maintaining the meta-community and ecosystem services of TMFs - either via resource provision or by linking patches of pristine forest. Research deficiencies highlighted include poor research representation in Asian and African TMFs, few assessments of population and genetic-level responses to fragmentation, and little assessment of the impacts of habitat fragmentation at all ecological levels. To address these concerns, we present a list of the top research priorities to urgently address the growing threat of habitat degradation in TMF.
2624-893X
Soh, Malcolm C.K.
5f99b203-3c5f-4d3a-b5b8-fd245b349bf5
Mitchell, Nicola J.
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Ridley, Amanda R.
58c6d511-ae7b-4a5c-b499-b972a78c2fe3
Butler, Connor W.
b56b78e1-1cd2-4c9b-a942-e25ca707cc9f
Puan, Chong Leong
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Peh, Kelvin S.-H.
0bd60207-dad8-43fb-a84a-a15e09b024cc
Soh, Malcolm C.K.
5f99b203-3c5f-4d3a-b5b8-fd245b349bf5
Mitchell, Nicola J.
7356faa0-6c4c-4077-9f7a-6ef38028f8d1
Ridley, Amanda R.
58c6d511-ae7b-4a5c-b499-b972a78c2fe3
Butler, Connor W.
b56b78e1-1cd2-4c9b-a942-e25ca707cc9f
Puan, Chong Leong
fb0fe92f-8ce1-4a79-a4d6-8cb19de3ed7b
Peh, Kelvin S.-H.
0bd60207-dad8-43fb-a84a-a15e09b024cc

Soh, Malcolm C.K., Mitchell, Nicola J., Ridley, Amanda R., Butler, Connor W., Puan, Chong Leong and Peh, Kelvin S.-H. (2019) Impacts of habitat degradation on tropical montane biodiversity and ecosystem services: a systematic map for identifying future research priorities. Frontiers in Forests and Global Change, 2, [83]. (doi:10.3389/ffgc.2019.00083).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Tropical montane forests (TMFs) are major centres of evolutionary change and harbour many endemic species with small geographic ranges. In this systematic map, we focus on the impacts of anthropogenic habitat degradation on TMFs globally. We first determine how TMF research is distributed across geographic regions, degradation type (i.e. deforestation, land-use conversion, habitat fragmentation, ecological level (i.e. ecosystem, community, population, genetic) and taxonomic group. Secondly, we summarize the impacts of habitat degradation on biodiversity and ecosystem services, and identify deficiencies in current knowledge. We show that habitat degradation in TMFs impacts biodiversity at all ecological levels and will be compounded by climate change. However, despite montane species being perceived as more extinction-prone due to their restricted geographic ranges, there are some indications of biotic resilience if the impacts to TMFs are less severe. Species richness and key species interactions can be maintained in mildly degraded sites, and gene flow can persist between TMF fragments. As such, minimally degraded areas such as secondary forests and restored areas could play a crucial role in maintaining the meta-community and ecosystem services of TMFs - either via resource provision or by linking patches of pristine forest. Research deficiencies highlighted include poor research representation in Asian and African TMFs, few assessments of population and genetic-level responses to fragmentation, and little assessment of the impacts of habitat fragmentation at all ecological levels. To address these concerns, we present a list of the top research priorities to urgently address the growing threat of habitat degradation in TMF.

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ffgc-02-00083 - Version of Record
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 29 November 2019
Published date: 17 December 2019

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 436317
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/436317
ISSN: 2624-893X
PURE UUID: 736ba3ae-1433-4f66-becb-c51fb5b80f6c
ORCID for Kelvin S.-H. Peh: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-2921-1341

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Date deposited: 06 Dec 2019 17:30
Last modified: 26 Nov 2021 02:59

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Contributors

Author: Malcolm C.K. Soh
Author: Nicola J. Mitchell
Author: Amanda R. Ridley
Author: Chong Leong Puan

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