Long-Term Changes of a Coastal Bird Breeding Community on a Small Island – Does Natural Succession Compromise Conservation Values?
Author: Oppel, Steffen
Source: Biodiversity and Conservation, Volume 14, Number 14, December 2005 , pp. 3407-3422(16)
Abstract:Limited spatial resources available for conservation lead to controversy about whether to apply single-species management or ecosystemary approaches in order to maintain biodiversity. In this study I analyse changes in a community of breeding coastal birds over a 90-year period, in order to examine whether natural processes on an unmanaged island are in accordance with requirements to save endangered species. Both diversity and species richness of the community increased significantly over time, and evenness increased after having been severely reduced by human impact. Diversity, evenness and species richness seemed to approach an equilibrium in the past decade, but number of breeding pairs declined as a consequence of altered natural disturbance regime. Species identity changed over time, with two initially very common species recently becoming locally extinct. These species are of high conservation concern, and their disappearance causes a problem for the concept of naturalness on islands. I conclude that natural processes need to be applied to the entire landscape in order to maintain dynamic processes that are essential for the survival of these species. The natural changes on the island should not be interrupted, but rather demonstrated to the public in order to increase conservation mindedness and gain support for changes in anthropogenic influences on a larger spatial scale.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Email: email@example.com
Publication date: December 1, 2005