Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Landscape matrix mediates occupancy dynamics of Neotropical avian insectivores

August 25, 2011

In addition to patch‐level attributes (i.e., area and isolation), the nature of land cover between habitat patches (the matrix) may drive colonization and extinction dynamics in fragmented landscapes. Despite a long‐standing recognition of matrix effects in fragmented systems, an understanding of the relative impacts of different types of land cover on patterns and dynamics of species occurrence remains limited. We employed multi‐season occupancy models to determine the relative influence of patch area, patch isolation, within‐patch vegetation structure, and landscape matrix on occupancy dynamics of nine Neotropical insectivorous birds in 99 forest patches embedded in four matrix types (agriculture, suburban development, bauxite mining, and forest) in central Jamaica. We found that within‐patch vegetation structure and the matrix type between patches were more important than patch area and patch isolation in determining local colonization and local extinction probabilities, and that the effects of patch area, isolation, and vegetation structure on occupancy dynamics tended to be matrix and species dependent. Across the avian community, the landscape matrix influenced local extinction more than local colonization, indicating that extinction processes, rather than movement, likely drive interspecific differences in occupancy dynamics. These findings lend crucial empirical support to the hypothesis that species occupancy dynamics in fragmented systems may depend greatly upon the landscape context.

Publication Year 2011
Title Landscape matrix mediates occupancy dynamics of Neotropical avian insectivores
DOI 10.1890/10-1044.1
Authors Christina M. Kennedy, Evan H. Campbell Grant, Maile C. Neel, William F. Fagan, Peter P. Marra
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Ecological Applications
Index ID 70004883
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Patuxent Wildlife Research Center