Breakdown of the species-area relationship in exotic but not in native forest patches

Tibor Magura, András Báldi, Róbert Horváth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Citations (Scopus)


We studied the pattern of bird species richness in native and exotic forest patches in Hungary. We hypothesized that species-area relationship will depend on forest naturalness, and on the habitat specialization of bird species. Therefore, we expected strong species-area relationship in native forest patches and forest bird species, and weaker relationship in exotic forest patches containing generalist species. We censused breeding passerine bird communities three times in 13 forest patches with only native tree species, and 14 with only exotic trees in Eastern Hungary in 2003. Although most bird species (92%) of the total of 41 species occurred in both exotic and native forests, the species-area relationship was significant for forest specialist, but not for generalist species in the native forests. No relationship between bird species and area was found for either species group in the forest with exotic tree species. The comparison of native versus exotic forest patches of similar sizes revealed that only large (>100 ha) native forests harbor higher bird species richness than exotic forests for the forest specialist bird species. There is no difference between small and medium forest patches and in richness of generalist species. Thus, the species-area relationship may diminish in archipelago of exotic habitat patches and/or for habitat generalist species; this result supports the warning that the extension of exotic habitats have been significantly contributing to the decline of natural community patterns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)272-279
Number of pages8
JournalActa Oecologica
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2008


  • Birds
  • Forest specialist species
  • Forestry practice
  • Generalist species
  • Habitat structure
  • Hungary

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation

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