Scattered tree ecosystems

Adrian D. Manning, Joern Fischer, David B. Lindenmayer. 2006. Scattered trees are keystone structures – Implications for conservation. Biological Conservation. 132: 311-321.
This review paper provides an overview of “scattered tree ecosystems”, a classification that can apply to a wide range of natural and human-dominated landscapes. One of the authors’ main goals was to demonstrate the “keystone role of scattered trees” by discussing the disproportionate (relative to the area of land covered) impact on biodiversity and ecosystem function, at both local and landscape scales. At the landscape scale, they argue that scattered trees often serve as important connectivity elements as well as nuclei for restoration/regeneration. The paper also outlines current threats to scattered tree ecosystems and discusses ways to incorporate these patches into conservation efforts. Like most review papers, the degree of generalization is simultaneously the greatest strength and the most serious weakness. The authors do a good job of laying a basic foundation, but they don’t present any information that is particularly surprising or illuminating (at least in my point of view).

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