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Sustainability 2017, 9(10), 1775; doi:10.3390/su9101775

Analysing the Impacts of Various Environmental Parameters on the Biodiversity Status of Major Habitats

Department of Environmental Technology, Technische Universität Berlin, Berlin 10623, Germany
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Received: 27 July 2017 / Revised: 21 September 2017 / Accepted: 26 September 2017 / Published: 30 September 2017
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Abstract

Background: Anthropogenic impacts on the environment often result in loss of biodiversity. However, the effects of different parameters (such as soil pH) on biodiversity, which can be influenced by human activities, are poorly investigated on a global scale. The paper at hand proposes an approach to examine the relationship between biodiversity and several parameters, which can be anthropogenically influenced, on a major habitat scale. The goal is to describe the relationship of a single parameter and biodiversity by means of a mathematical model within one major habitat. Methods: Geographic information system (GIS) data for the parameters “mean soil pH”, “mean share of cultivated land” and “mean temperature in June” for the whole world were overlaid with GIS data for the ecoregions proposed by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). By means of the software ArcGIS 10.4 (Esri Deutschland GmbH, Kranzberg, Germany), an average parameter value per ecoregion for all considered parameters was determined. Moreover, the index “biodiversity status” was introduced and determined for every ecoregion by means of the indicators “number of species”, “number of endemic species”, and “mean share of grassland and forest” for each ecoregion. As all ecoregions can be assigned to one of the 14 major habitats (as defined by the WWF), a Kruskal–Wallis test was conducted to analyse whether the parameters and the biodiversity status’ differentiate between the 14 major habitats. A mathematical model, which depicts the impact of the parameters on biodiversity, was established by means of curve fitting. Results: The Kruskal–Wallis test reveals that a significant difference (p-value of 0.000) regarding the considered parameter and the biodiversity status exists between the different major habitats. By means of a regression analysis and curve fitting, mathematical models were developed which describe the relation of the biodiversity status and the parameters for 14 major habitats. View Full-Text
Keywords: biodiversity; biodiversity impact assessment; regression analysis; curve fitting; soil pH; share of cultivated land; temperature biodiversity; biodiversity impact assessment; regression analysis; curve fitting; soil pH; share of cultivated land; temperature
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Winter, L.; Berger, M.; Minkov, N.; Finkbeiner, M. Analysing the Impacts of Various Environmental Parameters on the Biodiversity Status of Major Habitats. Sustainability 2017, 9, 1775.

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