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Figure 3 of La Sorte et al.
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Media contact: Travis Heckford, travis.heckford@gov.bc.ca, 250-302-5625

Landscape ecologists recognize paper that demonstrates the value of both Single Large Or Several Small habitat patches for conservation efforts

The North American Chapter of the International Association for Landscape Ecology (IALE-NA) has selected the paper by Frank A. La Sorte and colleagues, published in the journal: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, as the recipient of the 2024 Outstanding Paper in Landscape Ecology Award. The award was announced at the IALE-NA annual meeting, in Oklahoma City, April 1-5th. Members of the IALE-NA are encouraged to nominate candidate papers on the topic of landscape ecology (published in any journal) and the Awards Committee selects the winner.

The La Sorte et. al. paper “Collections of small urban parks consistently support higher species richness but not higher phylogenetic or functional diversity” tests a classic theory in the field of landscape ecology that is used by practitioners to inform the size and distribution of habitat patches in conversation planning. The paper examines how the theory of Single Large Or Several Small (SLOSS) patches influence a variety of biodiversity metrics using a well-studied taxonomic group (birds) from which a large citizen science database exists (eBird) in relation to urban parks of different sizes across the continental US. By assessing 475 parks in 21 US cities the authors show that “Collections of small parks were consistently associated with higher species richness, spatial turnover and rarity. Collections of both small and large parks were associated with higher phylogenetic and functional diversity whose patterns varied across seasons and cities”. With a recent series of journal articles testing SLOSS theory and finding inconsistent results, the La Sorte et. al. paper contributes to the discussion that habitat patches, in this case, urban parks, provide different values depending on the season and the type of diversity metric being used. They demonstrate that there is no one size fits all approach when it comes to designing habitat patches that support biodiversity across varied landscapes.

First author, Dr. Frank La Sorte, is a senior scientist at Yale University. Co-authors and their affiliations include Dr. Jeffrey A. G. Clark a senior manager of applied climate science at the Natural Areas Conservancy; Dr. Christopher A. Lepczyk is a Professor at Auburn University; Dr Myla F. J. Aronson is an urban ecologist at Rutgers University.

Full reference:

La Sorte, F. A., Clark, J. A. G., Lepczyk, C. A., & Aronson, M. F. J. (2023). Collections of small urban parks consistently support higher species richness but not higher phylogenetic or functional diversity. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 290(2006), 20231424. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2023.1424