The effects of land-use change on the endemic avifauna of Makira, Solomon Islands: endemics avoid monoculture

Tammy E. Davies, Rohan H. Clarke, John G. Ewen, Ioan R. A. Fazey, Nathalie Pettorelli, Will Cresswell
2015 Emu (Print)  
15 Unprecedented rates of deforestation on tropical islands are threatening high numbers of endemic 16 species. More empirical evidence is needed to better understand the implications of land-use 17 change on biodiversity, and to guide conservation actions. We assessed the impacts of land-use 18 change on the lowland avifauna of the tropical island of Makira in the Solomon Islands. We 19 examined species richness and community assemblages, with a particular focus on endemism and 20 functional
more » ... aits, to provide further insight into the 'conservation value' of the dominant land-use 21 types present on Makira (i.e. intact forest, secondary forest, food gardens, mixed cocoa plantations, 22 and monoculture cocoa plantations). We found species richness was similar across habitats, but 23 endemic species richness decreased as intensity of land use increased. There were significant 24 differences in the occurrence of functional groups between habitats. Fifteen out of the 42 species 25 observed showed significant variation in abundance across habitats. Of those species that varied, 12 26 were endemic to Makira or to Melanesia, with seven of these endemics being absent from the 27 monoculture cocoa. As tropical islands have less functional redundancy than continental 28 landmasses, protecting the remaining forest and improving habitat connectivity will be even more 29 critical for conserving their endemic species and maintaining ecosystem functioning. 30 31
doi:10.1071/mu14108 fatcat:kmqpmvzrxjgsxoa7spn6b37fjy