Assessing the relation between geodiversity and species richness in mountain heaths and tundra landscapes
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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OriginalversjonLandscape Ecology. 2023. 10.1007/s10980-023-01702-1
Context Recent studies show that geodiversity—the diversity of Earth's landforms, materials, and processes—has a positive relationship with biodiversity at a landscape scale. However, there is a substantial lack of evidence from finer scales, although this knowledge could improve the understanding of biodiversity patterns. Objectives We investigate whether plot-scale geodiversity and plant species richness (vascular plants, bryophytes, lichens, and total richness) are positively linked in different tundra landscapes. Methods We collected geodiversity (presence of different geofeatures) and plant species richness data from 165 sites in three distinct regions: isolated low-lying mountain heaths, and in sporadic and continuous mountain heaths and tundra. We used non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMDS) ordination to explore the correlations between the composition of geofeatures and species richness, followed by univariate and multivariate generalized linear models (GLM), to assess whether georichness is important for species richness. Results Geofeature composition was linked to species richness in all regions, as indicated by NMDS ordination. Both univariate and multivariate GLM models showed statistically significant relationship between species richness and georichness in all studied species richness groups in continuous Arctic-alpine tundra. Additionally, there was a positive link between georichness and lichen richness in isolated boreal mountain tops. Main conclusions We showed that plot-scale geodiversity has a positive relationship with species richness, yet the effect varies regionally and between species groups. Our study provides strong empirical evidence that geodiversity supports species richness in continuous Arctic-alpine tundra. This information can be used in species richness models but also be applied in biodiversity management and conservation.