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Almoussawi, A., Lenoir, J., Jamoneau, A., Hattab, T., Wasof, S., Gallet-Moron, E., et al. (2019). Forest fragmentation shapes the alpha-gamma relationship in plant diversity. J. Veg. Sci., .
Résumé: Questions Forest fragmentation affects biodiversity locally (alpha diversity) and beyond – at relatively larger scales (gamma diversity) – by increasing dispersal and recruitment limitations. Yet, does an increase in fragmentation affect the relationship between alpha and gamma diversity and what can we learn from it? Location Northern France. Methods We surveyed 116 forest patches across three fragmentation levels: none (continuous forest); intermediate (forest patches connected by hedgerows); and high (isolated forest patches). Plant species richness of both forest specialists and generalists was surveyed at five nested spatial resolutions across each forest patch: 1 m(2); 10 m(2); 100 m(2); 1,000 m(2); and total forest patch area. First, we ran log-ratio models to quantify the alpha-gamma relationship. We did that separately for all possible combinations of fragmentation level (none vs intermediate vs high) x spatial scale (e.g., alpha-1 m(2) vs gamma-10 m(2)) x species type (e.g., alpha-specialists vs gamma-specialists). We then used linear mixed-effects models to analyze the effect of fragmentation level, spatial scale, species type and all two-way interaction terms on the slope coefficient extracted from all log-ratio models. Results We found an interaction effect between fragmentation level and species type, such that forest specialists shifted from a linear (i.e., proportional sampling) to a curvilinear plateau (i.e., community saturation) relationship at low and high fragmentation, respectively, while generalists shifted from a curvilinear to a linear pattern. Conclusions The impact of forest fragmentation on the alpha-gamma relationship supports generalist species persistence over forest specialists, with contrasting mechanisms for these two guilds. As fragmentation increases, forest specialists shift from proportional sampling towards community saturation, thus reducing alpha diversity likely due to dispersal limitation. Contrariwise, generalists shift from community saturation towards proportional sampling, thus increasing alpha diversity likely due to an increase in the edge:core ratio. To ensure long-term conservation of forest specialists, one single large forest patch should be preferred over several small ones.