Deforestation patterns and hummingbird diversity in the Amazon rainforest

University essay from Stockholms universitet/Institutionen för naturgeografi

Abstract: In recent decades expanding land-use change has caused extensive deforestation of the tropical rainforestinducing large-scale transformation of the landscape patterns across the South American continent. Landscapechange is a modification process of the natural forest cover into fragments which generate various ecologicalimpacts. Habitat loss is identified to be a major threat to biodiversity, as it exposes species to the risk ofextinction. This study investigates 80 locations within tropical rainforest biomes to examine the landscape changewhich has occurred from 1993 – 2014. The intention is to identify the impacts of landscape fragmentation onhummingbird species diversity by spatial landscape analysis in GIS and regression modeling. The analysis foundthat there is no relationship between deforestation and reduction of hummingbird diversity. The results indicatethat hummingbird species are not particularly sensitive to landscape change as they have high resilience in regardto forest fragmentation. A potential threshold value of deforestation degree could be identified, up to whichhummingbird species richness increased, but locations subjected to over 40% fragmentation were estimated tohave lower hummingbird diversity. However, by using the spatial explicit biological data, the analysis indicatethat an extinction debt may exist in the landscape, and that future extinctions may be expected to occur in thefollowing decades as consequence of deforestation. Other factors may be as important determining variables forspecies richness: the spatial scale of the study, the habitat connectivity, hummingbird generalist tendencies.Conclusively, identification of the key factors of deforestation impacts on species diversity is essential for futureefficiency in conservation planning and sustainability of the tropical rainforest biodiversity.

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