Documenting patterns of spatiotemporal change in hyper-diverse communities remains a challenge for tropical ecology yet is increasingly urgent as some long-term studies have shown major declines in bird communities in undisturbed sites.
In 1982, a team of pioneering biologists quantified the structure and organisation of the bird community in a 97-ha. plot in rainforest of southeastern Peru.
We revisited the same plot in 2018 using the same methodologies as the original study to evaluate community-wide changes.
Contrary to longitudinal studies of other neotropical bird communities (Tiputini, Manaus, and Panama), we found little change in community structure and organisation, with increases in 5, decreases in 2 and no change in 7 foraging guilds.
Kernel density estimates of 6 example species showing their spatial distributions in 1982 (left) compared to 2018 Graph on the right summarizes the overall observed correlation coefficient of more than 100 KDEs compared to a null distribution, suggesting a much higher overlap in spatial distribution than expected by chance.
This apparent stability suggests that large forest reserves such as the Manu National Park, possibly due to regional topographical influences on precipitation, still provide the conditions for establishing refugia from at least some of the effects of global change on bird communities.