Multiple-region, N-mixture community model to assess associations of riparian area, fragmentation, and species richness

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We created a novel, multiple-region, N-mixture community model (MNCM) to examine the relations of riparian area and fragmentation with species richness of breeding birds in mountain ranges within the Great Basin, Nevada, USA. Projections of future riparian contraction suggested that decreases in species richness are likely to be greatest in canyons that currently have moderate (~10–25 ha) amounts of riparian vegetation. Our results suggest that if a goal of management is to maximize the species richness of breeding birds in montane riparian areas in the Great Basin, it may be more effective to focus on total habitat area than on fragmentation of patches within canyons, and that canyons with at least moderate amounts of riparian vegetation should be prioritized.

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