Area effect on bird species richness of an archipelago of wetland fragments in Central Italy

Abstract

Wetlands are naturally patchy habitat types that in fragmented landscapes are usually immersed inside a sea of anthropogenic habitat matrix. Decrease in patch size area and increase of patch isolation are two important components of wetland fragmentation. We investigated the effects of fragment area on bird species richness at four-level assemblages in a highly fragmented Mediterranean wetland system of Central Italy. Our results indicate that fragment area influenced differently the species richness for distinct assemblages in wetland fragments. Area was significantly correlated to total species richness, vagrant, breeding and Phragmites-related breeding species (PBS). A comparison of the various regression equations showed that the log-log relationship was the best-fitted model and the amount of variation (R2 of log-log regression line) was much higher for PBS and breeders than for vagrants. This pattern confirmed that when including vagrants in studies based on the equilibrium theory of island biogeography, the ‘insularity of islands ‘ is reduced. We also found that higher z-values (regression slope) were associated with PBS and breeding birds, supporting the idea of a ‘matrix effect’ on the studied species.

Abbreviations

AHF:

Anthropogenic Habitat Fragmentation

ETIB:

Equilibrium Theory of Island Biogeography

PBS:

Phragmites-related Breeding Species

References

  1. Abbott, I. 1980. Theories dealing with the ecology of landbirds on islands. Advances in Ecological Research 11: 329–371.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Ambuel, B. and Temple, S.A. 1983. Area dependent changes in bird communities and vegetation of southern Wisconsin forests. Ecology 64:1057–1068.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Andrén, H. 1994. Effects of habitat fragmentation on birds and mammals in landscapes with different proportions of suitable habitat: a review. Oikos 71: 355–366.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Anon. a. 2006. Carta di uso del suolo, 1: 50,000. Assessorato all’Urbanistica, Regione Lazio, Roma.

  5. Anon. b. 2007. Carta della vegetazione reale della Provincia di Roma. Provincia di Roma, Roma.

  6. Austin, J.E. 2002. Responses of dubbling ducks to wetland conditions in the Prairie Pothole region. Waterbirds 25: 465–473.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Báldi, A. 2004. Area requirements of passerine birds in the reed archipelago of Lake Velence, Hungary. Acta Zool. Acad. Sci. Hung. 50: 1–8.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Báldi, A. and Kisbenedek, T. 1998. Factors influencing the occurrence of Great White Egret (Egretta alba), Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), Marsh Harrier (Circus aeroginosus) and Coot (Fulica atra) in the reed archipelago of Lake Velence, Hungary. Ekológia (Bratislava) 17: 384–390.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Báldi, A. and Kisbenedek, T. 1999. Species-specific distribution of reed-nesting passerine birds across reed bed edges: effects of spatial scale and edge type. Acta Zool. Acad. Sci. Hung. 45: 97–114.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Báldi, A. and Kisbenedek, T. 2000. Bird species numbers in an archipelago of reeds at Lake Velence, Hungary. Global Ecology & Biogeography 9: 451–461.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Bani, L., Baietto, M., Bottoni, L. and Massa, R. 2002. The use of focal species in designing a habitat network for a lowland area of Lombardy, Italy. Cons. Biol. 16: 826–831.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Bani, L., Massimino, D., Bottoni, L. and Massa, R. 2006. A multiscale method for selecting indicator species and priority conservation areas: a case study for broadleaved forests in Lombardy, Italy. Cons. Biol. 20: 512–526.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Battisti, C., Della Bella, V. and Guidi, A. 2007. Materiali per la conservazione delle aree umide residuali del litorale romano. Assessorato alle politiche agricole e ambientali, Provincia di Roma, Stilgrafica, Roma.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Begon, M., Harper, J.L. and Townsend, C.R. 1986. Ecology. Individuals, Populations, Communities. Blackwell, London.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Bellamy, P.E., Hinsley, S.A. and Newton, I. 1996. Factors influencing bird species numbers in small woods in south-east England. J. Appl. Ecol. 33: 249–262.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Bibby, C.J., Burgess, D. and Hill, D.A. 1992. Bird Census Techniques. Academic Press, London.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Bibby, C.J., Hill, D.A., Burgess, N.D. and Mustoe, S. 2000. Bird Census Techniques. 2nd edition. Academic Press, London.

  18. Blake, J.G. and Karr, J.R. 1987. Breeding birds of isolated woodlots: area and habitat relationships. Ecology 68: 1724–1734.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Blasi, C. 1994. Fitoclimatologia del Lazio. Carta del Fitoclima del Lazio. Univ. La Sapienza, Roma. Regione Lazio.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Brown, M. and Dinsmore, J.J. 1986. Implications of marsh size and isolation for wetland birds management. J. Wildl. Manag. 50: 392–397.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Burkey, T.V. 1995. Extinction rates in archipelagoes: implications for populations in fragmented habitats. Cons. Biol. 9: 527–541.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Celada, C. and Bogliani, G. 1993. Breeding bird communities in fragmented wetlands. Boll. Zool. 60: 73–80.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Ceschin, S. and Cancellieri, L. 2007. Analisi fitosociologica delle comunità vegetali. In: Battisti, C., Della Bella, V. and Guidi, A (eds.), Materiali per la conservazione delle aree umide residuali del litorale romano. Assessorato alle politiche agricole e ambientali, Provincia di Roma, Stilgrafica, Roma. pp. 49–68.

  24. Cieslak, M. 1985. Influence of forest size and other factors on breeding bird species number, Ekol. Polska 33: 103–121.

  25. Connor, E.F. and McCoy, E.D. 1979. The statistics and biology of the species-area relationship. Am. Nat. 113: 791–833.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Cramp, S., Simmons, K.E.L. and Perrins, C.M. (eds.) 1977–1994. The Birds of Western Palearctic. Vol. I-IX. Oxford Univ. Press., Oxford.

  27. Crooks, K.R. and Soulé, M.E. 1999. Mesopredator release and avifaunal extinctions in a fragmented system. Nature 400: 563–566.

  28. Diamond, J.M. 1975. The island dilemma: lessons of modern biogeographic studies for the design of natural reserves. Biol. Cons. 7: 129–145.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. East, R. 1981. Species-area curves and populations of large mammals in African savanna reserves. Biol. Cons. 21: 111–126.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Fahrig, L. 1997. Relative effects of habitat loss and fragmentation on population extinction. J. Wildl. Manag. 61: 603–610.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Fahrig, L. 2003. Effect on habitat fragmentation on biodiversity. Annu. Rev. Ecol. Evol. Syst. 34: 487–515.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Findlay, C.S. and Houlahan, J. 1997. Anthropogenic correlates of species richness in south-eastern Ontario wetlands. Cons. Biol. 11: 1000–1009.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Frank, B. and Battisti, C. 2005. Area effect on bird communities, guilds and species in a highly fragmented forest landscape of Central Italy. Ital. J. Zool. 72: 297–304.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Gibbs, J.P. 2000. Wetland loss and biodiversity conservation. Cons. Biol. 14: 314–317.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Gibbs, J.P., Longcore J.R., McAuley, D.G. and Ringelman, J.K. 1991. Use of Wetland Habitats by Selected Nongame Water Birds in Maine. United States Fish and Wildlife Service, resource Publication 9, Washington, DC.

    Google Scholar 

  36. Helle, P. 1985. Effects of forest fragmentation on bird densities in northern boreal forests. Ornis Fenn. 62: 35–41.

    Google Scholar 

  37. Herkert, J.R. 1994. The effect of habitat fragmentation on Midwestern grassland bird communities. Ecol. Appl. 4: 461–471.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Hinsley, S.A., Bellamy, P.E., Newton, I. and Sparks, T.H. 1995. Habitat and landscape factors influencing the presence of individual breeding bird species in woodland fragments. J. Avian Biol. 26: 94–104.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Holm, T.E. and Clausen, P. 2006. Effects of water level management on autumn staging waterbird and macrophyte diversity in three Danish coastal lagoon. Biodiv. Conserv. 15: 4399–4423.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Howe, R.W. 1984. Local dynamics of bird assemblages in small forest habitat islands in Australia and North America. Ecology 56: 1585–1601.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Kalmar, A. and Currie, D.J. 2006. A global model of island bio-geography. Global Ecol. Biogeogr. 15: 72–81.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Kitchener, D.J., Chapman, A., Dell, J. and Muir, B.G. 1980. Lizard assemblage and reserve size and structure in the Western Australian wheat belt – some implications for conservation. Biol. Cons. 17: 25–62.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Kitchener, D.J., Dell, J. and Muir, B.G. 1982. Birds in western Australia wheat belt reserves – implication for conservation. Biol. Cons. 22: 127–163.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Knick, S.T. and Rotenberry, J.T. 1995. Landscape characteristics of fragmented shrubsteppe habitats and breeding passerine birds. Cons. Biol. 9: 1059–1071.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  45. Kurosawa, R. and Askins, R.A. 2003. Effectof habitat fragmentation on birds in deciduous forest in Japan. Cons. Biol. 17: 695–707.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  46. International Bird Census Committee. 1969. Recommendation for an international standard for a mapping method in bird census work. Bird Study 16: 249–255.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  47. Leibowitz, S.G. 2003. Isolated wetlands and their functions : an ecological perspective. Wetlands 23: 517–531.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  48. Lorenzetti, E. and Battisti, C. 2006. Area as component of habitat fragmentation: corroborating its role in breeding bird communities and guilds of oak wood fragments in Central Italy. Rev. Ecol. (Terre et Vie) 61: 53–68.

    Google Scholar 

  49. MacArthur, R.H. and Wilson, E.O. 1967. The Theory of Island Biogeography. Princeton Univ. Press, Princeton.

    Google Scholar 

  50. Magurran, A. 2004. Measuring Biological Diversity. Blackwell Publishing, Malden, MA.

    Google Scholar 

  51. Mamo, L.B. and Bolen, E.G., 1999. Effects of area, isolation, and landscape on the avifauna of Carolina Bays. J. Field Ornithol. 70: 310–320.

    Google Scholar 

  52. Margules, C. and Usher, M.B. 1981. Criteria used in assessing wildlife conservation potential: a review. Biol. Cons. 21: 79–109.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  53. Matthysen, E., Adriaensen, F., and Dhondt, A.A. 1995. Dispersal distances of nuthatches, Sitta europaea, in a highly fragmented forest habitat. Oikos 72: 375–381.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  54. Mazerolle, M.J. 2006. Improving data analysis in herpetology: using Akaike’s Information Criterion (AIC) to assess the strength of biological hypotheses. Amphibia-Reptilia 27: 169–180.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  55. McCollin, D. 1993. Avian distribution patterns in a fragmented wooded landscape (North Humberside, U.K.): the role of between-patch and within-patch structure. Global Ecol. Biogeogr. Lett. 3: 48–62.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  56. McIntyre, N.E. 1995. Effects of forest patch size on avian diversity. Landsape Ecol. 10: 85–99.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  57. Moore, N.W. and Hooper, M.D. 1975. On the number of bird species in British woods. Biol. Cons. 8: 239–250.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  58. Mortberg, U.A. 2001. Resident bird speciesin urban forest remnants; landscape and habitat perspectives. Landsc. Ecol. 16: 193–203.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  59. Moskát, C. and Báldi, A.. 1999. The importance of edge effect in line transect censuses applied in marshland habitats. Ornis Fenn. 76: 33–40.

    Google Scholar 

  60. Opdam, P., Rijsdijk, G. and Hustings, F. 1985. Bird communities in small woods in an agricultural landscape: effects of area and isolation. Biol. Cons. 34: 333–352.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  61. Paracuellos, M. 2006a. Relationship of songbird occupation with habitat configuration and bird abundance in patchy reed beds. Ardea 94: 87–98.

    Google Scholar 

  62. Paracuellos, M. 2006b. How can habitat selection affect the use of a wetland complex by waterbirds. Biodiv. Conserv. 15: 4569–4582.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  63. Paracuellos, M. and Tellerìa, J.L. 2004. Factors affecting the distribution of a waterbird community: the role of habitat configuration and bird abundance. Waterbirds 27: 446–453.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  64. Pough, R.H. 1947. How to take a bird breeding census. Audubon Magazine 49: 290–297.

    Google Scholar 

  65. Preston, F.W. 1962a. The canonical distribution of commonness and rarity. Part I. Ecology 43: 185–215.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  66. Preston, F.W. 1962b. The canonical distribution of commonness and rarity. Part II. Ecology 43: 410–432.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  67. Riffel, S.K., Keas, B.E. and Burton, T.M. 2001. Area and habitat relationship of birds in Great Lakes coastal wet meadows. Wetlands 21: 492–507.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  68. Rose, M.D. and Polis, G.A. 2000. On the insularity of islands. Ecography 23: 693–701.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  69. Rosenzweig, M.L. 1995. Species Diversity in Space and Time. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, U. K.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  70. Saunders, D.A., Hobbs, R.J. and Margules, C.R. 1991. Biological consequences of ecosystem fragmentation: a review. Cons. Biol. 5: 18–32.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  71. Schmiegelow, F.K.A., Machtans, C.S. and Hannon, S.J. 1997. Are boreal birds resilient to forest fragmentation? An experimental study of short-term community responses. Ecology 78: 1914–1932.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  72. Schoener, T.W. 1976. The species-area relation within archipelagos: models and evidence from island land birds. Proceedings 16th International Ornithological Congress (Camberra): 629–642.

  73. Semlitsch, R.D. and Bodie, J.R. 1998. Are small, isolated wetlands expendable? Cons. Biol. 12: 1129–1133.

  74. Sugiura, N. 1978. Further analysis of the data by Akaike’s information criterion and the finite corrections. Comm. Stat. Theory Meth. A7: 13–23.

  75. Sutherland, W.J., Newton, I.and Green, R.E. 2004. Bird Ecology and Conservation: A Handbook of Techniques. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  76. Tomialojc, L. 1980. The combined version of the mapping method. Proc. VI Int. Conf. Bird Census Work, Gottingen, 1979. pp. 114–119.

  77. Tscharntke, T. 1992. Fragmentation of Phragmites habitat, minimum viable population size, and local extinction of moths, midges, flies, aphids and birds. Cons. Biol. 6: 530–536.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  78. Verner, J. 1984. The guild concept applied to management of bird populations. Environm. Managem. 8: 1–14.

    Google Scholar 

  79. Villard, M.A. 1998. On forest-interior species, edge avoidance, area sensitivity, and dogma in avian conservation. Auk 155: 801–805.

    Google Scholar 

  80. Villard, M.A., Trzcinski, M.K. and Merriam, G. 1999. Fragmentation effects on forest birds: relative influence of woodland cover and configuration on landscape occupancy. Cons. Biol. 13: 774–783.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  81. Watling, J.I. and Donnelly, M.A. 2006. Fragments and islands:a synthesis of faunal responses to habitat patchiness. Cons. Biol. 20: 1016–1025.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  82. Wiens, J.A. 1989. The Ecology of Bird Communities. Foundation and Patterns. Vol. I. Cambridge studies on Ecology, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  83. Wiens, J.A. 1995. Habitat fragmentation: island vs. landscape perspective on birds conservation. Ibis 137: 97–104.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  84. Wilcove, D.S., McLellan, C.H. and Dobson, A.P. 1986. Habitat fragmentation in the temperate zones. In: Soulé, M.E. (ed.), Conservation Biology. Sinauer Associates Inc., Sunderland, Massachussets. pp. 237–256.

  85. Williams, C.B. 1964. Patterns in the Balance of Nature. Academic Press, London.

    Google Scholar 

  86. Woolhouse, M.E.J. 1983. The theory and practice of the species-area effect, applied to the breeding birds of British woods. Biol. Cons. 27: 315–332.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to L. Luiselli.

Rights and permissions

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Benassi, G., Battisti, C. & Luiselli, L. Area effect on bird species richness of an archipelago of wetland fragments in Central Italy. COMMUNITY ECOLOGY 8, 229–237 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1556/ComEc.8.2007.2.9

Download citation

Keywords

  • Habitat heterogeneity
  • Habitat loss
  • Island biogeography
  • Phragmites australis
  • Wetlands