Heterogeneous landscapes promote population stability

Oliver, Tom; Roy, David B.; Hill, Jane K.; Brereton, Tom; Thomas, Chris D.. 2010 Heterogeneous landscapes promote population stability. Ecology Letters, 13 (4). 473-484.

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Habitat heterogeneity is often suggested as being important for the stability of populations, and promoted as a means to aid the conservation of species, but the evidence for such an assumption is poor. Here we show that heterogeneous landscapes that contain a variety of suitable habitat types are associated with more stable population dynamics for 35 British butterfly species from 166 sites. In addition, topographic heterogeneity may also promote stability. Our results were robust to different measures of population variability, differences in mean abundance among sites, and to the spatial scale (radius 1km-5km around the centres of sites) at which landscapes were analysed. Responses to landscape heterogeneity differed among species; for more mobile ‘wider-countryside’ species, habitat heterogeneity at larger landscape scales had the strongest effect on population dynamics. We suggest that heterogeneous landscapes offer a greater range of resources and microclimates, which can buffer populations against climatic variation and generate more stable population dynamics.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biodiversity > BD Topic 1 - Observations, Patterns, and Predictions for Biodiversity > BD - 1.4 - Quantify and model interactions to determine impacts ...
CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biodiversity > BD Topic 2 - Ecological Processes in the Environment > BD - 2.4 - Estimate the impact of the main drivers and pressures on biodiversity ...
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Pywell
ISSN: 1461-023X
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 01 Apr 2010 11:09 +0 (UTC)

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