Within-patch habitat quality determines the resilience of specialist species in fragmented landscapes

Xinping Ye*, Andrew K. Skidmore, Tiejun Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Patch geometry and habitat quality among patches are widely recognized as important factors affecting population dynamics in fragmented landscapes. Little is known, however, about the influence of within-patch habitat quality on population dynamics. In this paper, we investigate the relative importance of patch geometry and within-patch habitat quality in determining population dynamics using a spatially explicit, agent-based model. We simulate two mobile species that differ in their species traits: one resembles a habitat specialist and the other a habitat generalist. Habitat quality varies continuously within habitat patches in space (and time). The results show that spatial variation in within-patch quality, together with patch area, controls population abundance of the habitat specialist. In contrast, the population size of the generalist species depends on patch area and isolation. Temporal variation in within-patch quality is, however, less influential in driving the population resilience of both species. We conclude that specialist species are more sensitive than generalist species to within-patch variation in habitat quality. The patch area-isolation paradigm, developed in metapopulation theory, should incorporate variation in within-patch habitat quality, particularly for habitat specialists.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-147
Number of pages13
JournalLandscape Ecology
Volume28
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Habitat fragmentation
  • Habitat heterogeneity
  • Habitat quality
  • Species specialisation
  • Agent-based model
  • Dynamic landscape

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