This study will address a number of identified research gaps regarding species-area relationships, and the existence of nonlinearities such as thresholds in these relationships, in fragmented landscapes.  The variable influence of landscape characteristics, including but not limited to productivity, topography and matrix land use intensity, on the shape and functional form of species-area relationships will be investigated. Of particular interest will be whether thresholds occur as a result of inappropriate data aggregation, where data is combined from landscapes that differ fundamentally in their underlying characteristics.
The overarching aim of this study is to examine the factors that influence the relationship between the species richness of woodland-dependent birds and native vegetation, with a view to deriving better conservation outcomes based on interpretation of the species-area relationship.

It is envisaged that the utility of this relationship for both predicting biodiversity responses to habitat cover change, and understanding the processes that underpin how species richness varies with area, will be enhanced as a result of this study. In particular, it is expected that a greater understanding of factors that cause a threshold in the relationship between species richness and area, be these ‘real’ or spurious, will be obtained. This will have important ramifications for landscape-scale biodiversity conservation, particularly given the current uncertainties around the use of thresholds for establishing conservation targets.

Funding: APA (Australian Postgraduate Award)

Advisors: Assoc Prof Martine Maron, Dr Berndt van Rensburg

 

Project members

Jeremy Simmonds

Jeremy Simmonds

Post Doc Research Fellow