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The effect of natural disturbances on forest biodiversity: an ecological synthesis

Formally Refereed
Authors: Mari‐Liis Viljur, Scott R. Abella, Martin Adámek, Janderson Batista Rodrigues Alencar, Nicholas A. Barber, Burkhard Beudert, Laura A. Burkle, Luciano Cagnolo, Brent R. Campos, Anne Chao, Brahim Chergui, Chang‐Yong Choi, Daniel F. R. Cleary, Thomas Seth Davis, Yanus A. Dechnik‐Vázquez, William M. Downing, Andrés Fuentes‐Ramirez, Kamal J. K. Gandhi, Catherine Gehring, Kostadin B. Georgiev, Mark Gimbutas, Konstantin B. Gongalsky, Anastasiya Y. Gorbunova, Cathryn H. Greenberg, Kristoffer Hylander, Erik S. Jules, Daniil I Korobushkin, Kajar Köster, Valerie Kurth, Joseph Drew Lanham, Maria Lazarina, Alexandro B. Leverkus, David Lindenmayer, Daniel Magnabosco Marra, Pablo Martín‐Pinto, Jorge A. Meave, Marco Moretti, Hyun‐Young Nam, Martin K. Obrist, Theodora Petanidou, Pere Pons, Simon G. Potts, Irina B. Rapoport, Paul R. Rhoades, Clark Richter, Ruslan A. Saifutdinov, Nathan J. Sanders, Xavier Santos, Zachary Steel, Julia Tavella, Clara Wendenburg, Beat Wermelinger, Andrey S. Zaitsev, Simon Thorn
Year: 2022
Type: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Southern Research Station
Source: Biological Reviews


Disturbances alter biodiversity via their specific characteristics, including severity and extent in the landscape, which act
at different temporal and spatial scales. Biodiversity response to disturbance also depends on the community characteristics
and habitat requirements of species. Untangling the mechanistic interplay of these factors has guided disturbance
ecology for decades, generating mixed scientific evidence of biodiversity responses to disturbance. Understanding the
impact of natural disturbances on biodiversity is increasingly important due to human-induced changes in natural disturbance
regimes. In many areas, major natural forest disturbances, such as wildfires, windstorms, and insect outbreaks, are
becoming more frequent, intense, severe, and widespread due to climate change and land-use change. Conversely, the
suppression of natural disturbances threatens disturbance-dependent biota. Using a meta-analytic approach, we analysed
a global data set (with most sampling concentrated in temperate and boreal secondary forests) of species assemblages
of 26 taxonomic groups, including plants, animals, and fungi collected from forests affected by wildfires,
windstorms, and insect outbreaks. The overall effect of natural disturbances on α-diversity did not differ significantly
from zero, but some taxonomic groups responded positively to disturbance, while others tended to respond negatively.


Viljur, Mari Liis; Abella, Scott R.; Ad mek, Martin; Alencar, Janderson Batista Rodrigues; Barber, Nicholas A.; Beudert, Burkhard; Burkle, Laura A.; Cagnolo, Luciano; Campos, Brent R.; Chao, Anne; Chergui, Brahim; Choi, Chang Yong; Cleary, Daniel F. R.; Davis, Thomas Seth; Dechnik V zquez, Yanus A.; Downing, William M.; Fuentes Ramirez, Andr s; Gandhi, Kamal J. K.; Gehring, Catherine; Georgiev, Kostadin B.; Gimbutas, Mark; Gongalsky, Konstantin B.; Gorbunova, Anastasiya Y.; Greenberg, Cathryn H.; Hylander, Kristoffer; Jules, Erik S.; Korobushkin, Daniil I.; K ster, Kajar; Kurth, Valerie; Lanham, Joseph Drew; Lazarina, Maria; Leverkus, Alexandro B.; Lindenmayer, David; Marra, Daniel Magnabosco; Mart n Pinto, Pablo; Meave, Jorge A.; Moretti, Marco; Nam, Hyun Young; Obrist, Martin K.; Petanidou, Theodora; Pons, Pere; Potts, Simon G.; Rapoport, Irina B.; Rhoades, Paul R.; Richter, Clark; Saifutdinov, Ruslan A.; Sanders, Nathan J.; Santos, Xavier; Steel, Zachary; Tavella, Julia; Wendenburg, Clara; Wermelinger, Beat; Zaitsev, Andrey S.; Thorn, Simon. 2022. The effect of natural disturbances on forest biodiversity: an ecological synthesis. Biological Reviews. 21(2): 789-.