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Climate and land‐use interactively shape butterfly diversity in tropical rainforest and savanna ecosystems of southwestern China

First Author: Miao BG
Abstract: Human‐induced habitat conversion and degradation, along with accelerating climatic change, have resulted in considerable global biodiversity loss. Nevertheless, how local ecological assemblages respond to the interplay between climate and land‐use change remains poorly understood. Here, we examined the effects of climate and land‐use interactions on butterfly diversity in different ecosystems of southwestern China. Specifically, we investigated variation in the alpha and beta diversities of butterflies in different landscapes along human‐modified and climate gradients. We found that increasing land‐use intensity not only caused a dramatic decrease in butterfly alpha diversity but also significantly simplified butterfly species composition in tropical rainforest and savanna ecosystems. These findings suggest that habitat modification by agricultural activities increases the importance of deterministic processes and leads to biotic homogenization. The land‐use intensity model best explained species richness variation in the tropical rainforest, whereas the climate and land‐use intensity interaction model best explained species richness variation in the savanna. These results indicate that climate modulates the effects of land‐use intensity on butterfly alpha diversity in the savanna ecosystem. We also found that the response of species composition to climate varied between sites: specifically, species composition was strongly correlated with climatic distance in the tropical rainforest but not in the savanna. Taken together, our long‐term butterfly monitoring data reveal that interactions between human‐modified habitat change and climate change have shaped butterfly diversity in tropical rainforest and savanna. These findings also have important implications for biodiversity conservation under the current era of rapid human‐induced habitat loss and climate change.
Contact the author: Peng YQ; Liu C
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Impact Factor: 2.791
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PubYear: May 2020
Volume: online
Publication Name: Insect Science
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