The research, co-authored by Swansea University's Dr Miguel Lurgi, shows the specific ways in which human activities destroy habitat is a key factor to understanding the effects of such destruction on the stability and functioning of biological communities.
The paper, published in scientific journal Nature Communications, asks whether putting the focus solely on species diversity may overlook other facets of the way biological communities respond to habitat destruction.
Daniel - Montoya - Researcher - Theoretical - Experimental
Daniel Montoya, researcher at the Theoretical and Experimental Ecology Station in Moulis, France, also a co-author, said: "Ecologists and practitioners tend to assess the impact of human activities on biodiversity by measuring the extinction rates of species.
"However, biodiversity comprises elements other than single species, such as the interactions between species and their stability over time and space.
Properties - Functioning - Ecosystems - Component - Biodiversity
"These additional, and sometimes overlooked, properties are key to the functioning of ecosystems. They are the missed component of biodiversity loss that accompanies or precede species extinctions."
This study found that the specific ways in which habitat is lost is important to the response of biodiversity.
Dr - Montoya - Habitats - Way - Example
Dr Montoya added: "Natural habitats can be destroyed randomly or in a clustered way -- for example, by the construction of a road or the creation of new urban areas, respectively. The spatial configuration of this loss differentially constrains the mobility of individual animals, which further impacts biodiversity and the stability of populations in the remaining fragments of intact habitat."
The researchers say...
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