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Creators/Authors contains: "Elphick, Chris S."

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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  2. Habitat loss disrupts species interactions through local extinctions, potentially orphaning species that depend on interacting partners, via mutualisms or com- mensalisms, and increasing secondary extinction risk. Orphaned species may become functionally or secondarily extinct, increasing the severity of the cur- rent biodiversity crisis. While habitat destruction is a major cause of biodiver- sity loss, the number of secondary extinctions is largely unknown. We investigate the relationship between habitat loss, orphaned species, and bipar- tite network properties. Using a real seed dispersal network, we simulate habi- tat loss to estimate the rate at which species are orphaned. To be able to draw general conclusions, we also simulate habitat loss in synthetic networks to quantify how changes in network properties affect orphan rates across broader parameter space. Both real and synthetic network simulations show that even small amounts of habitat loss can cause up to 10% of species to be orphaned. More area loss, less connected networks, and a greater disparity in the species richness of the network’s trophic levels generally result in more orphaned spe- cies. As habitat is lost to land-use conversion and climate change, more orphaned species increase the loss of community-level and ecosystem func- tions. However, the potentialmore »severity of repercussions ranges from minimal (no species orphaned) to catastrophic (up to 60% of species within a network orphaned). Severity of repercussions also depends on how much the interac- tion richness and intactness of the community affects the degree of redun- dancy within networks. Orphaned species could add substantially to the loss of ecosystem function and secondary extinction worldwide.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 22, 2023
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  4. Abstract

    The interdisciplinary nature of conservation problems is increasingly being incorporated into research, raising fundamental questions about the relative importance of the different types of knowledge and data. Although there has been extensive research on the development of methods and tools for conservation planning, especially spatial planning, comparatively little is known about the relative importance of ecological versus non-ecological data for prioritization, or the likely return on investment of incorporating better data. We demonstrate a simple approach for (1) quantifying the sensitivity of spatial planning results to different ecological and non-ecological data layers, and (2) estimating the potential gains in efficiency from incorporating additional data. Our case study involves spatial planning for coastal squeeze, a process by which development blocks coastal ecosystems from moving landward in response to sea-level rise. We show that incorporating spatial data on landowners’ likelihood of selling had little effect on identifying relative priorities but drastically changed the outlook for whether conservation goals could be achieved. Better data on the costs of conservation actions had the greatest potential to improve the efficiency of spatial planning, in some cases generating more than an order of magnitude greater cost savings compared to ecological data. Our framework could bemore »applied to other systems to guide the development of spatial planning and to identify general rules of thumb for the importance of alternative data sources for conservation problems in different socio-ecological contexts.

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