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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Research Notes: Disturbance and biotic integrity

Quantifying the relationship between anthropogenic disturbance and biotic integrity in the Adirondack Park
Anne Woods, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

This study investigates the response of biotic communities to anthropogenic disturbance in the Adirondack Park, and examines the relationship between land use and biotic integrity at the landscape scale. I developed an index of biotic integrity (IBI) for the Adirondack Park using data on bird guilds from the 2000-2005 New York State Breeding Bird Atlas (BBA). IBI was a better measure of biotic community condition than species richness, which was affected by sampling effort and responded non-linearly to disturbance. IBI was negatively related to development and open land covers and positively related to forest/wetland cover and elevation. IBI was predicted better by variables measured at the BBA block scale than larger scales. In the Adirondack Park, the biotic integrity of private lands used for natural resource management may be at risk of degradation from expanding development.

For more information on this research, please contact Anne Woods at the Adirondack Ecological Center.

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