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Landscape-level impact of tropical forest loss and fragmentation on bird occurrence in eastern Guatemala

December 4, 2009

Tropical forest destruction and fragmentation of habitat patches may reduce population persistence at the landscape level. Given the complex nature of simultaneously evaluating the effects of these factors on biotic populations, statistical presence/absence modelling has become an important tool in conservation biology. This study uses logistic regression to evaluate the independent effects of tropical forest cover and fragmentation on bird occurrence in eastern Guatemala. Logistic regression models were constructed for 10 species with varying response to habitat alteration. Predictive variables quantified forest cover, fragmentation and their interaction at three different radii (200, 500 and 1000 m scales) of 112 points where presence of target species was determined. Most species elicited a response to the 1000 m scale, which was greater than most species’ reported territory size. Thus, their presence at the landscape scale is probably regulated by extra-territorial phenomena, such as dispersal. Although proportion of forest cover was the most important predictor of species’ presence, there was strong evidence of area-independent and -dependent fragmentation effects on species presence, results that contrast with other studies from northernmost latitudes. Species’ habitat breadth was positively correlated with AIC model values, indicating a better fit for species more restricted to tropical forest. Species with a narrower habitat breadth also elicited stronger negative responses to forest loss. Habitat breadth is thus a simple measure that can be directly related to species’ vulnerability to landscape modification. Model predictive accuracy was acceptable for 4 of 10 species, which were in turn those with narrower habitat breadths.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2010
Title Landscape-level impact of tropical forest loss and fragmentation on bird occurrence in eastern Guatemala
DOI 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2009.10.038
Authors A. Cerezo, Susana Perelman, Chandler S. Robbins
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Ecological Modelling
Series Number
Index ID 70227339
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Patuxent Wildlife Research Center