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Resilience and stability in bird guilds across tropical countryside

Daniel S. Karp, Guy Ziv, Jim Zook, Paul R. Ehrlich and Gretchen C. Daily
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 108, No. 52 (December 27, 2011), pp. 21134-21139
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23077199
Page Count: 6
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Resilience and stability in bird guilds across tropical countryside
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Abstract

The consequences of biodiversity decline in intensified agricultural landscapes hinge on surviving biotic assemblages. Maintaining crucial ecosystem processes and services requires resilience to natural and anthropogenic disturbances. However, the resilience and stability of surviving biological communities remain poorly quantified. From a 10-y dataset comprising 2,880 bird censuses across a land-use gradient, we present three key findings concerning the resilience and stability of Costa Rican bird communities. First, seed dispersing, insect eating, and pollinating guilds were more resilient to low-intensity land use than high-intensity land use. Compared with forest assemblages, bird abundance, species richness, and diversity were all ∼15% lower in low-intensity land use and ∼50% lower in high-intensity land use. Second, patterns in species richness generally correlated with patterns in stability: guilds exhibited less variation in abundance in low-intensity land use than in high-intensity land use. Finally, interspecific differences in reaction to environmental change (response diversity) and possibly the portfolio effect, but not negative covariance of species abundances, conferred resilience and stability. These findings point to the changes needed in agricultural production practices in the tropics to better sustain bird communities and, possibly, the functional and service roles that they play.

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