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Should I stay and should I go; Population extinction debt of declining plant species still resulting from pre-intensification landscapes (1930s)

Hooftman, Danny; Bullock, James. 2011 Should I stay and should I go; Population extinction debt of declining plant species still resulting from pre-intensification landscapes (1930s). [Speech] In: Responding to rapid environmental change. 12th Ecological Federation Congress, Avila, Spain, 25-29 September 2011. (Unpublished)

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Abstract/Summary

Loss of connectivity through land conversion increases the sensitivity of plant populations to demographic and environmental stochasticity, potentially causing local disappearances many years after the initial habitat loss. This potential for delayed extinction is referred to as “extinction debt”. Here, we present a unique study in which we consider extinction patterns among populations of 75 declining species. Over a 2500 km2 area in South-Western England we use species presence data from 7575 vegetation surveys made in the 1930s  a period before large-scale agricultural intensification. Using GIS and niche modelling we estimate presence likelihoods in 1930s and compare these with the locations of all current populations. Subsequently, via Monte Carlo assignment procedures, we determine the connectivity of both extinct and extant populations in 1930s and 2000. A meta-analysis is employed grouping the results in terms of species traits. In general, the overall extinction debt is relatively low. The current distribution of populations reflects the current connectivity better than that in the 1930s, which suggest that the loss of connectivity has already led to spatially correlated extinctions. However, not for all species: species with lower dispersal capacities but good survival capacities, such as high clonality and long term seed banks, still harbour an extinction debt. An analytical framework as depicted here has clear applied uses. Avoiding unexpected population extinctions is vital in restoration and conservation planning. Using such framework could not only warn of extinction risks but also indicate those species for which restoring the dispersal infrastructure is highly important.

Item Type: Publication - Conference Item (Speech)
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biodiversity
CEH Sections: Hails
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Botany
Date made live: 18 Sep 2013 08:45 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/503190

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