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Deep Sea Res
Bush, M. B., & McMichael, C. N. H. (2016). Holocene variability of an Amazonian hyperdominant.
Little is known regarding the long-term stability or instability of Amazonian plant communities. We assessed whether the most abundant species, hyperdominants, may have risen to prominence at the Pleistocene-Holocene transition, following subsequent changes in moisture regimes, or as a result of human activity later in the Holocene. The fossil pollen history of the commonest western Amazonian tree, Iriartea deltoidea (hereafter Iriartea), is investigated using fossil pollen data from 13 lakes. Iriartea is a monospecific genus with diagnostic pollen. It is also considered a useful' plant, and its abundance could have been enriched by human action.Iriartea pollen was found to have increased in abundance in the last 3000years, but did not show a consistent relationship with human activity. The suggestion that the hyperdominants in modern Amazonian forests are a legacy of pre-Columbian people is unsupported. The abundance of Iriartea pollen is related to increasing precipitation, not human activity over the last 3000years. This member of the hyperdominant category of Amazonian trees has only recently acquired this status.Synthesis. Our findings are consistent with the observation that communities in complex systems are ephemeral. The populations of even the most abundant species can change over a few tens of generations. The relative abundance of tree species, even in relatively stable systems such as those of Amazonian floodplains, changes on ecological not evolutionary timescales.
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Frishkoff, L. O., Karp, D. S., Flanders, J. R., Zook, J., Hadly, E. A., Daily, G. C., et al. (2016). Climate change and habitat conversion favour the same species.
Land-use change and climate change are driving a global biodiversity crisis. Yet, how species' responses to climate change are correlated with their responses to land-use change is poorly understood. Here, we assess the linkages between climate and land-use change on birds in Neotropical forest and agriculture. Across > 300 species, we show that affiliation with drier climates is associated with an ability to persist in and colonise agriculture. Further, species shift their habitat use along a precipitation gradient: species prefer forest in drier regions, but use agriculture more in wetter zones. Finally, forest-dependent species that avoid agriculture are most likely to experience decreases in habitable range size if current drying trends in the Neotropics continue as predicted. This linkage suggests a synergy between the primary drivers of biodiversity loss. Because they favour the same species, climate and land-use change will likely homogenise biodiversity more severely than otherwise anticipated.
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