Farneda, F.Z., Rocha, R., López-Baucells, A., Sampaio, E.M., Palmeirim, J.M., Bobrowiec, P.E.D., Grelle, C.E.V. & Meyer, C.F.J. (2018) The road to functional recovery: temporal effects of matrix regeneration on Amazonian bats.Tropical Conservation Science, 11, 1-4. DOI:10.1177/1940082918777185 (IF2018 1,327; Q3 Biodiversity Conservation)
Across the tropics, vast deforested areas are undergoing forest regeneration due to land abandonment. Although secondary forest is an expanding type of landscape matrix that has been shown to buffer some of the negative consequences of forest loss and fragmentation on taxonomic diversity, little is known in this regard about the functional dimension of biodiversity. We took advantage of an ecosystem-wide fragmentation experiment to investigate longer term changes in functional diversity of a mega-diverse Amazonian bat assemblage associated with regrowth development in the matrix. We found that matrix regeneration affected several facets of bat functional diversity in secondary forest over time, increasing functional alpha diversity, species- and community-level functional uniqueness, altering functional trait composition, and resulting in functional beta-diversity changes via trait gains. However, approximately 30 years of matrix regeneration were insufficient for functional diversity to recover to the same levels as in continuous forest. Our results suggest that a combination of natural, humanassisted, and active restoration is likely to be the most successful strategy for restoring functional biodiversity of bats in human-modified tropical landscapes, a finding that most likely also applies to many other taxa.