New Publication: Different ecosystem services provided by birds in agroecosystems depend on distinct components of avian biodiversity

In the context of Rocío Peña’s PhD research, we studied how birds supply two ecosystem services, seed dispersal and pest control through insect predation, across wide regional gradients in two different agroecosystems, woodland pastures and apple orchards. We analysed how these services depend on different components of avian biodiversity (species abundance, trait-based functional diversity, phylogenetic diversity) that, in turn, may be shaped by environmental gradienst such as forest cover and resource availability.

We found that fucntional diversity showed positive effects on insectivory but almost neutral effects on seed dispersal, which was mostly affected by species abundance. Our results also evidenced a strong effect of environmental gradients of forest cover and resource availability as filters of all biodiversity components. Finally, environmental factors also showed a direct effect on seed dispersal, but not on insect predation. Therefore we conclude that the functional effects of biodiversity depend on the environmental context and the ecosystem service considered. Read the open-access paper in Functional Ecology!

Results of Structural Equation Models showing the direct and indirect effects of forest cover and insect abundance, and the different components of bird biodiversity, on insect predation in different agroecosystems of Asturias (N Spain)