The Effects of Habitat Fragmentation and Habitat Management in the Piedmont, Northern Virginia



Fabian, Tyler

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Species diversity is hypothesized to decrease with increasing habitat fragmentation and human interaction. Species diversity is measured by calculating the species richness (number of different species) and species evenness (abundance of species) for a specific location. Camera traps (animal triggered devices) were used to detect and identify species. Data was collected over a 71 day period (July 1st and September 10th) on 8 cameras with a total of 568 camera trap days and 918 images of species. Three sites in Fauquier County were selected, based on habitat fragmentation and the presence of human activities. Site 1 is an area of land managed to promote species diversity and has minimal human activities. Site 2 is a conservancy with the fewest number of disturbances, and is hypothesized to have the greatest diversity of species. Site 3 has the most disturbances due to farming on a fragmented landscape. It is hypothesized to have the least diversity of species. Species diversity is calculated using several models, Jaccard’s Index, Whittaker Index, Simpson Index, Shannon-Wiener Index, Relative Abundance Index and True Diversity (Effective Number of Species). Site 2 was calculated to be the most diverse, but Site 1 had the greatest number of species. Site 3, as expected, was the least diverse.



Riparian forest, Camera traps, Large vertebrate species, Land management, Species diversity, Human disturbances