Large-scale tropical biodiversity change: measurement, implications, and spatial scaling


Large-scale tropical biodiversity change: measurement, implications, and spatial scaling

Tue, July 12, 14:00 - 16:00hrs, Room: Barahona 1


Jacob Socolar, Natalia Ocampo-Peñuela

Tropical biodiversity is difficult to survey at large spatial scales, and regional-scale patterns of tropical biodiversity change are poorly known. This symposium surveys contemporary progress in understanding regional-scale tropical biodiversity change and searches for general patterns that permit qualitative up-scaling of local studies.

Biodiversity loss due to Anthropogenic activities shows non-trivial spatial scaling dynamics. In particular, the magnitude of biodiversity change at local scales often fails to capture the magnitude of change at regional scales due to patterns of biotic homogenization. Because biodiversity survey data are difficult to obtain over large spatial areas, especially in the tropics, our understanding of large-scale tropical biodiversity change is potentially not robust. This symposium explores our understanding of tropical biodiversity change and management at large spatial scales. 

This symposium seeks to 1) survey contemporary knowledge of tropical biodiversity change at regional scales, 2) probe the spatial scaling of biodiversity loss in search of general patterns that relate local measurements to regional patterns, and 3) explore the consequences of these spatial scaling patterns for the effectiveness of management interventions, such as carbon payments or wildlife-friendly farming, at regional spatial scales. The primary synthetic goal is to identify patterns in where and how local-scale and regional-scale patterns of biodiversity change diverge. 

The spatial scaling of biodiversity loss is poorly understood throughout the tropics, but is critically important for the development of robust conservation interventions from localized biodiversity survey data. The cross-scale biodiversity impacts of human activities in the tropics have received substantial recent attention and are ripe for synthesis, which will reveal new patterns in the spatial organization of tropical biodiversity as well as improved understanding of large-scale biodiversity loss to guide management.

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