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Nature. 2015 Apr 2;520(7545):45-50. doi: 10.1038/nature14324.

Global effects of land use on local terrestrial biodiversity.

Author information

1
1] United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre, 219 Huntingdon Road, Cambridge CB3 0DL, UK. [2] Computational Science Laboratory, Microsoft Research Cambridge, 21 Station Road, Cambridge CB1 2FB, UK.
2
Department of Life Sciences, Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, UK.
3
1] United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre, 219 Huntingdon Road, Cambridge CB3 0DL, UK. [2] Department of Life Sciences, Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, UK.
4
Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London, Silwood Park, London SL5 7PY, UK.
5
United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre, 219 Huntingdon Road, Cambridge CB3 0DL, UK.
6
Department of Biosciences, College of Science, Swansea University, Singleton Park, Swansea SA2 8PP, UK.
7
1] Department of Life Sciences, Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, UK. [2] Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London, Silwood Park, London SL5 7PY, UK.
8
Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK.
9
Instituto Multidisciplinario de Biología Vegetal (CONICET-UNC) and FCEFyN, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Casilla de Correo 495, 5000 Córdoba, Argentina.
10
Deptartment of Zoology, Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel-Aviv University, 6997801 Tel Aviv, Israel.
11
1] Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Hans Knöll Straße 10, 07743 Jena, Germany. [2] German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig, Deutscher Platz 5e, 04103 Leipzig, Germany.
12
Landscape Ecology Group, Institute of Biology and Environmental Sciences, University of Oldenburg, D-26111 Oldenburg, Germany.
13
Computational Science Laboratory, Microsoft Research Cambridge, 21 Station Road, Cambridge CB1 2FB, UK.
14
Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3RB, UK.
15
Biology Department, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Eau Claire, Wisconsin 54701, USA.
16
1] United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre, 219 Huntingdon Road, Cambridge CB3 0DL, UK. [2] School of Life Sciences, University of Sussex, Brighton BN1 9QG, UK.

Abstract

Human activities, especially conversion and degradation of habitats, are causing global biodiversity declines. How local ecological assemblages are responding is less clear--a concern given their importance for many ecosystem functions and services. We analysed a terrestrial assemblage database of unprecedented geographic and taxonomic coverage to quantify local biodiversity responses to land use and related changes. Here we show that in the worst-affected habitats, these pressures reduce within-sample species richness by an average of 76.5%, total abundance by 39.5% and rarefaction-based richness by 40.3%. We estimate that, globally, these pressures have already slightly reduced average within-sample richness (by 13.6%), total abundance (10.7%) and rarefaction-based richness (8.1%), with changes showing marked spatial variation. Rapid further losses are predicted under a business-as-usual land-use scenario; within-sample richness is projected to fall by a further 3.4% globally by 2100, with losses concentrated in biodiverse but economically poor countries. Strong mitigation can deliver much more positive biodiversity changes (up to a 1.9% average increase) that are less strongly related to countries' socioeconomic status.

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PMID:
25832402
DOI:
10.1038/nature14324
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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