As global biodiversity continues to decline steeply, it is becoming increasingly important to understand diversity patterns at local and regional scales. Changes in land use and climate, nitrogen deposition and invasive species are the most important threats to global biodiversity. Because land use changes tend to benefit a few species but impede many, the expected outcome is generally decreasing population sizes, decreasing species richness at local and regional scales, and increasing similarity of species compositions across sites (biotic homogenization). Homogenization can be also driven by invasive species or effects of soil eutrophication propagating to higher trophic levels. In contrast, in the absence of increasing aridity, climate warming is predicted to generally increase abundances and species richness of poikilotherms at local and regional scales. We tested these predictions with data from one of the few existing monitoring programmes on biodiversity in the world dating to the 1960s, where the abundance of 878 species of macro-moths have been measured daily at seven sites across Hungary. Our analyses revealed a dramatic rate of regional species loss and homogenization of community compositions across sites. Species with restricted distribution range, specialized diet or dry grassland habitat were more likely than others to disappear from the community. In global context, the contrasting effects of climate change and land use changes could explain why the predicted enriching effects from climate warming are not always realized.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Animal Science and Zoology