Distribution of mammal functional diversity in the Neotropical realm: Influence of land-use and extinction risk.
Functional diversity represents a measure of diversity that incorporates the role of species in an ecosystem, and therefore its dynamics and resilience. Assessing its drivers and spatial variation represents an important step forward in our understanding of functional ecosystem dynamics and it is also necessary to achieve a comprehensive conservation planning. In this paper, we assessed mammal functional diversity for the 218 ecoregions within the Neotropical realm.
We evaluated the overall influence and spatial variation of species richness, ecoregion extent, intervention and species at risk on functional diversity. Using ordinary least squares and geographically weighted regression modeling approaches, we found that intervened areas and threatened and non-threatened species are the most influential overall drivers of functional diversity. However, we also detected that these variables do not operate equally across scales. Our local analyses indicated both that the variation explained and local coefficients vary spatially depending on the ecoregion and major habitat type. As estimates of functional diversity are based on current distribution of all mammals, negative influence of intervened areas and positive influence of non-threatened species may reflect a potential degradation of functional processes for some ecosystems. Most generally, the negative influence of intervention together with the influence of threatened species indicates that some areas are currently more susceptible to functional diversity loss.
Our results help to pinpoint key areas requiring urgent conservation action to reduce natural land-cover loss and areas where threatened species play influential roles on ecosystem functioning.
González-Maya JF, Martínez- Meyer E, Medellín R, Ceballos G (2017) Distribution of mammal functional diversity in the Neotropical realm: Influence of land-use and extinction risk. PLoS ONE 12 (4): e0175931.