SPEZIALE karina Lilian
Flying wildlife may mask the loss of ecological functions due to terrestrial habitat fragmentation
ZULUAGA, SANTIAGO; SPEZIALE, KARINA L.; LAMBERTUCCI, SERGIO A.
THE SCIENCE OF TOTAL ENVIRONMENT
Año: 2022 vol. 803
Land use change alters wildlife critical animal behaviours such as movement, becoming the main driver threatening wildlife ecological functions (WEF) and nature´s contribution to people (NCP) provided by terrestrial species. Despite the negative impacts of current rates of terrestrial fragmentation on WEF, many ecological processes can be still occurring through aerial habitats. Here, we propose and discuss that the movement capabilities of aerial species, as well their functional redundancy with non-flying wildlife, are the mechanisms by which some ecological processes can be still occurring. We show examples of how the movements of aerial wildlife may be masking the loss of important functions and contributions by compensating for the lost ecosystem functions previously provided by terrestrial wildlife. We also highlight the implications of losing aerial wildlife in areas where that functional redundancy was already lost due to the impacts of land use change on terrestrial wildlife. We suggest to consider flying wildlife as a biological insurance against the loss of WEF and NCP due to terrestrial fragmentation and proposed some aeroconservation measures.