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Linking bird, carabid beetle and butterfly life-history traits to habitat fragmentation in mosaic landscapes

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The goal of the present study is to assess how landscape configuration influenced the distribution of life-history traits across bird, carabid beetle and butterfly communities of mosaic forest landscapes in south-western France. A set of 12 traits was selected for each species, characterizing rarity, biogeographical distribution, body size, trophic guild, dispersal power, reproductive potential and phenology. We used a three-table ordination method, RLQ analysis, to link directly bird, beetle and butterfly traits to the same set of landscape metrics calculated in 400 m-radius buffers around sample points. RLQ analyses showed significant associations between life-history traits and landscape configuration for all three taxonomical groups. Threatened species from all groups were characterized by a combination of life traits that makes them especially sensitive to the fragmentation of herbaceous and shrub-dominated habitats at the landscape scale. These key life traits were low productivity, intermediate body mass, restricted geographic range, late phenology and ground gleaning for threatened birds, intermediate body size, spring adult activity, northern distribution and summer breeding period for threatened carabids, and restricted range, overwintering as eggs or larvae, low mobility, monophagy and short flight periods for threatened butterflies. Focusing on species life traits can provide a functional perspective, which helps to determine adequate measures for the conservation of threatened species and communities of several taxonomical groups in mosaic landscapes.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2009

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