How pervasive is biotic homogenization in human-modified tropical forest landscapes?

How pervasive is biotic homogenization in human-modified tropical forest landscapes?


Land-cover change and ecosystem degradation often lead to biotic homogenization. Yet, there is knowledge gaps regarding this phenomena, which this study seeks to fill. Solar et al. (2015) monitor the change in biodiversity along a land use gradient ranging from primary forest to severely degraded and human dominated landscapes.

Goals & Methods

This study aims to understand how biotic homogenization plays out on multiple scales and for multiple taxa. The authors do this by collecting data on five taxa (birds, dung beetles, plants, orchid bees, and ants) sampled in 335 sites in 36 landscapes in two regions of the Brazilian Amazon. 

Conclusions & Takeaways

The study found that human land use is associated with biotic homogenization because the types of species that are resistant to degraded habitat and those that have robust dispersal mechanisms are more likely to colonize human-altered land. Solar et al. show that, as the land use gradient shifts from primary, undisturbed forest to mechanized agriculture, the percentage of beta diversity decrease contributed by nestedness (species loss) increases. This can be interpreted as the community composition changing to species more tolerant of human activity, rather than by species turnover (species replacement). Thus, the authors show that human land use is positively correlated with an increase in biotic homogenization.


Solar RRibeiro de, Barlow J, Ferreira J, et al. How pervasive is biotic homogenization in human-modified tropical forest landscapes?. Cornell H, ed. Ecology Letters. 2015;18:1108–1118. doi:10.1111/ele.12494.


  • Departamento de Biologia, Universidade Federal de Vicosa, Vicosa, Minas Gerais, Brasil
  • Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK
  • MCTI/Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi, Belem, PA, Brasil
  • Embrapa Amazonia Oriental. Belem, Brasil
  • Institute for Applied Ecology, University of Canberra, Bruce, Australia
  • Department of Environment, Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, Land, Water and Planning, Australia
  • Universidade Federal de Lavras, Setor de Ecologia e Conservacao Lavras, Minas Gerais, Brasi
  • Stockholm Environment Institute, Stockholm, Sweden
  • International Institute for Sustainability, Estrada Dona Castorina, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil