Taxonomic, functional, and phylogenetic diversity of bird assemblages are oppositely associated to productivity and heterogeneity in temperate forests

Soyeon Bae, Jörg Müller, Dowon Lee, Kerri T. Vierling, Jody C. Vogeler, Lee A. Vierling, Andrew T. Hudak, Hooman Latifi, Simon Thorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


Conserving multiple facets of biodiversity is important for sustaining ecosystems. However, understanding relationships between faunal diversity and measurable ecosystem quantities, such as heterogeneity and productivity, across continental scales can be complicated by disparate methods. We developed standardized approaches using lidar data and spectral greenness data (via NDVI; Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) from 637 sampling plots across four sites in North America, Europe, and Asia to test the local effects of habitat heterogeneity and productivity on taxonomic, functional, and phylogenetic diversity of breeding bird assemblages using boosted generalized additive models. Our results revealed the 3-D (three dimensional) vegetation structure (horizontal and vertical) to be of similar importance as NDVI in multiple biodiversity measures, and the importance of 3-D structure was higher for functional and phylogenetic biodiversity measures than for taxonomic measures. We found congruent responses between functional and phylogenetic diversity; however, patterns of taxonomic diversity differed from those of functional/phylogenetic diversity for most predictors. For example, NDVI had positive relationships with taxonomic diversity, but negative relationships with functional/phylogenetic diversity. The effect of canopy density on taxonomic diversity was generally bell-shaped, whereas the relationship was U-shaped for functional and phylogenetic diversity. As a result, this study supports a silviculture strategy with a high variety of canopy densities and vertical variabilities across forest stands to create maximum benefits for regional biodiversity. Here, early succession stands and closed stands sustain functionally-rich bird assemblages, while stands with a medium canopy density promote species-rich assemblages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-156
Number of pages12
JournalRemote Sensing of Environment
StatePublished - Sep 15 2018


  • Biodiversity
  • Canopy density
  • Habitat heterogeneity hypothesis
  • Lidar
  • NDVI
  • Null model
  • Productivity diversity hypothesis

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