Animal taxa contrast in their scale-dependent responses to land use change in rural Africa
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Human-dominated landscapes comprise the bulk of the world's terrestrial surface and Africa is predicted to experience the largest relative increase over the next century. A multi-scale approach is required to identify processes that maintain diversity in these landscapes. Here we identify scales at which animal diversity responds by partitioning regional diversity in a rural African agro-ecosystem between one temporal and four spatial scales. Human land use practices are the main driver of diversity in all seven animal assemblages considered, with medium sized mammals and birds most affected. Even the least affected taxa, bats and non-volant small mammals (rodents), responded with increased abundance in settlements and agricultural sites respectively. Regional turnover was important to invertebrate taxa and their response to human land use was intermediate between that of the vertebrate extremes. Local scale (< 300 m) heterogeneity was the next most important level for all taxa, highlighting the importance of fine scale processes for the maintenance of biodiversity. Identifying the triggers of these changes within the context of functional landscapes would provide the context for the long-term sustainability of these rapidly changing landscapes.