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Multiscale Analyses of Mammal Species Composition – Environment Relationship in the Contiguous USA

November 28, 2011

PLoS ONEPLoS ONE 6(9): e25440, Published 27 September 2011

Rafi Kent, Avi Bar-Massada, and Yohay Carmel

“Relationships between species composition and its environmental determinants are a basic objective of ecology. Such relationships are scale dependent, and predictors of species composition typically include variables such as climate, topographic, historical legacies, land uses, human population levels, and random processes. Our objective was to quantify the effect of environmental determinants on U.S. mammal composition at various spatial scales.

 Explained variance rates of individual environmental variables in mammal species composition: a) climatic variables; b) topographic variables and c) LULC variables.

Explained variance rates of individual environmental variables in mammal species composition: a) climatic variables; b) topographic variables and c) LULC variables.

“We found that climate was the predominant factor affecting species composition, and its relative impact increased in correlation with the increase of the spatial scale. Another factor affecting species composition is land-use–land-cover. Our findings showed that its impact decreased as the spatial scale increased. We provide quantitative indication of highly significant effect of climate and land-use–land-cover variables on mammal composition at multiple scales.”

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