Relating landscape structure, environment and management to biodiversity indicators estimated from forest inventory data in Catalonia (NE Spain)
AbstractThere is an increasing need to develop efficient methods for characterising and monitoring forest biodiversity. A landscape scale approach and assessment can provide complementary and valuable information in this respect, by considering patterns and processes that operate at broad scales and influence different aspects of forest biodiversity. Here we analysed the relationships between six forest biodiversity indicators (related to the tree and shrub layers and estimated from a large set of field plots in the Third Spanish National Forest Inventory) and landscape structure, environmental and management variables at a 10 x 10 km scale in the region of Catalonia (NE Spain) through the variation partitioning method. The tree layer indicators were those most predictable from the set of explanatory variables considered, and up to a 77.2 % of total variation was explained for tree species richness. Landscape variables were much more relevant to explain biodiversity patterns than environmental and spatial factors, and landscape composition outperformed the predictive capacity of configuration metrics. Management had a weak but positive effect on the tree layer indicators, while the amount of early successional forest was negatively associated to the tree layer indicators but positively to those of the shrub stratum. Our results highlight the need to (1) concentrate field sampling efforts in those indicators that are less predictable from the landscape scale, such as those related to rare species with a high conservation value, and to (2) incorporate landscape structure variables for forest biodiversity assessments in the Mediterranean, where a landscape management approach may be particularly suited to allow the adaptation of forest biodiversity to the ongoing landscape dynamics related to broad-scale processes such as rural land abandonment or climate change.
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