The effect of the fragmentation of natural mosaic habitats on biodiversity in the northern and southern hemisphere
Megvalósítás alatt lévő/Futó projekt
Due to the increasing intensity of agricultural land use, the biodiversity of terrestrial habitats has decreased significantly. Non-cultivated terrestrial habitats are also changing, their area is declining, and they end up as distant, isolated habitat patches. Several studies have already examined the effect of landscape structure on biodiversity in the case of homogeneous fragments, but this effect is hardly known for mosaic habitat patches. The sandy forest-steppe is a still existing natural mosaic habitat type in Hungary. It consists of a mosaic of dry grasslands and juniper-poplar patches, making it a rare and high nature value habitat. Similarly, grasslands belonging to the South African fog zone have a high biodiversity value and are home to rare and endemic species. Here, the acidic grasslands are dotted with smaller patches of forest formed by Podocarpus trees, thus also forming mosaic habitat fragments. In our research, by examining birds and spiders, we look for the answer to whether the species diversity of small and large and isolated and less isolated habitat patches differs. We also look at how the diversity of forest edge spider communities is affected by forest patch exposure in the two geographic and climatic regions. It is a joint research project with Dr Chevonne Reynolds, a researcher at the University of the Witwatersrand.