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(Reference retrieved automatically from Web of Science through information on FAPESP grant and its corresponding number as mentioned in the publication by the authors.)

Bird based Index of Biotic Integrity: Assessing the ecological condition of Atlantic Forest patches in human-modified landscape

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Alexandrino, Eduardo Roberto ; Buechley, Evan R. ; Karr, James R. ; de Barros Ferraz, Katia Maria Paschoaletto Micchi ; de Barros Ferraz, Silvio Frosini ; do Couto, Hilton Thadeu Zarate ; Sekercioglu, Cagan H.
Total Authors: 7
Document type: Journal article
Source: ECOLOGICAL INDICATORS; v. 73, p. 662-675, FEB 2017.
Web of Science Citations: 3

Wooded biomes converted to human-modified landscapes (HML) are common throughout the tropics, yielding small and isolated forest patches surrounded by an agricultural matrix. Diverse anthropogenic interventions in HMLs influence patches in complex ways, altering natural dynamics. Assessing current condition or ecological integrity in these patches is a challenging task for ecologists. Taking the Brazilian Atlantic Forest as a case study, we used the conceptual framework of the Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI), a multimetric approach, to assess the ecological integrity of eight small forest patches in a highly disturbed HML with different configurations and histories. The IBI was developed using bird assemblages found in these patches, and its performance was compared with analytical approaches commonly used in environmental assessment, such as general richness and Shannon's diversity index. As a first step, the IBI procedure identifies an existing gradient of human disturbance in the study region and checks which biotic characteristics (candidate metrics) vary systematically across the gradient. A metric is considered valid when its' relationship with the gradient provides an ecological interpretation of the environment. Then, the final IBI is elaborated using each valid metric, obtaining a score for each site. Over one year of sampling, 168 bird species were observed, providing 74 different bird candidate metrics to be tested against the disturbance gradient. Seven of them were considered valid:richness of threatened species; richness of species that use both ``forest and non-forest{''} habitats; abundance of endemics, abundance of small understory-midstory insectivores, abundance of exclusively forest species; abundance of non forest species, and abundance of species that forage exclusively in the midstory stratum. Each metric provided complementary information about the patch's ecological integrity. The resulting IBI showed a significant linear relationship with the gradient of human disturbance, while total species richness and Shannonis diversity index did not. Application of numerical approaches, such as total species richness and Shannon's diversity, did not distinguish ecological traits among species. The IBI proved better for assessing and interpreting ecological and environmental condition of small patches in highly disturbed HML. The IBI framework, its multimetric character, and the ease with which it can be adapted to diverse situations, make it an effective approach for assessing environmental conditions in the Atlantic Forest region, and also for many other small forest patches in the tropics. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 11/06782-5 - Multi-scale assessment of environmental impacts in agricultural landscape
Grantee:Katia Maria Paschoaletto Micchi de Barros Ferraz
Support type: Regular Research Grants
FAPESP's process: 10/05343-5 - Impacts of the anthropogenic landscape structure and its dynamics on bird communities
Grantee:Eduardo Roberto Alexandrino
Support type: Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
FAPESP's process: 14/14925-9 - The usage of bird assemblages as environmental quality indicator of forest patches in a highly agricultural landscape
Grantee:Eduardo Roberto Alexandrino
Support type: Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate