Habitat loss reduces species diversity, but the effect of habitat fragmentation on number of species is less clear because fragmentation generally accompanies loss of habitat. We compared four methods that aim to decouple the effects of fragmentation from the effects of habitat loss. Two methods are based on species-area relations, one on Fisher's alpha index of diversity, and one on plots of cumulative number of species detected against cumulative area sampled. We used these methods to analyze the species diversity of spiders in 2, 3.2 × 4 km agricultural landscapes in Southern Judea Lowlands, Israel. Spider diversity increased as fragmentation increased with all four methods, probably not because of the additive within-patch processes, such as edge effect and heterogeneity. The positive relation between fragmentation and species diversity might reflect that most species can disperse through the fields during the wheat-growing season. We suggest that if a given area was designated for the conservation of spiders in Southern Judea Lowlands, Israel, a set of several small patches may maximize species diversity over time.
- Species diversity
- Species-area relation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Nature and Landscape Conservation