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Quantifying the impacts of defaunation on natural forest regeneration in a global meta-analysis

Gardner, Charlie J., Bicknell, Jake E., Baldwin-Cantello, William, Struebig, Matthew J., Davies, Zoe G. (2019) Quantifying the impacts of defaunation on natural forest regeneration in a global meta-analysis. Nature Communications, 10 . p. 4590. ISSN 2041-1723. (doi:10.1038/s41467-019-12539-1) (KAR id:77436)

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https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-12539-1

Abstract

Intact forests provide diverse and irreplaceable ecosystem services that are critical to human well-being, such as carbon storage to mitigate climate change. However, the ecosystem functions that underpin these services are highly dependent on the woody vegetation-animal interactions occurring within forests. While vertebrate defaunation is of growing policy concern, the effects of vertebrate loss on natural forest regeneration have yet to be quantified globally. Here we conduct a meta-analysis to assess the direction and magnitude of defaunation impacts on forests. We demonstrate that real-world defaunation caused by hunting and habitat fragmentation leads to reduced forest regeneration, although manipulation experiments provide contrasting findings. The extirpation of primates and birds cause the greatest declines in forest regeneration, emphasising their key role in maintaining carbon stores, and the need for national and international climate change and conservation strategies to protect forests from defaunation fronts as well as deforestation fronts.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1038/s41467-019-12539-1
Uncontrolled keywords: Biodiversity; Ecosystem services; Forest ecology
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH75 Conservation (Biology)
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)
Depositing User: Zoe Davies
Date Deposited: 14 Oct 2019 17:50 UTC
Last Modified: 03 Feb 2020 14:43 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/77436 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Bicknell, Jake E.: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6831-627X
Struebig, Matthew J.: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2058-8502
Davies, Zoe G.: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0767-1467
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