A spatially explicit comparison between the vertebrate species richness of pine plantations and that of other land-cover classes in the southeastern United States

H. Veen van’t, A. S. Duden, P. A. Verweij

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The pine plantation area of the southeastern United States has increased over the past decades and is expected to grow further, partly as a result of increasing demand for industrial wood pellets. This potentially impacts biodiversity due to, for instance, habitat loss. No regional scale assessments were found on the species richness of pine plantations in this region, while regional scale assessments are important to show spatial variation in species richness across pine plantations and other land-cover classes. The preliminary results of this study provide a spatially explicit assessment of differences in vertebrate richness between pine plantations and other land-cover classes in the Southeastern United States. Potential species richness is calculated per grid cell per land-cover class per ecoregion, using habitat association data of the GAP Analysis Program of the US Geological Survey. The mean potential species richness of pine plantations per grid cell is relatively low, particularly compared to forested land. The largest differences between pine plantations and other land-cover classes are found in the coastal regions of the Southeastern United States, as well as scattered areas in the Appalachian mountains for amphibians and mammals. Because of the relatively low potential species richness and diversity in pine plantations, a future expansion could result in habitat loss. This study was carried out with a subset of 236 amphibian, reptile and mammal species. In addition, an offset problem was discovered. However, these data limitations are currently being addressed, allowing for improvement of the quality of the analysis. This will enable a more comprehensive evaluation of future implications of pine plantation expansion in the southeastern United States for vertebrate biodiversity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1511-1524
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Biomass Conference and Exhibition Proceedings
Volume2017
Issue number25thEUBCE
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017

Keywords

  • Biodiversity
  • Environmental impact
  • Forestry
  • Wood pellet

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