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Scale is a key ingredient when tracking biodiversity, researchers say

To fully understand biodiversity and how it is changing, you need to look near, far, and in-between, according to a new study. Researchers studied 50 years of data about nesting birds in North America and tracked biodiversity changes on a local, regional, and continental scale. They found significant differences in how much change had occurred, based upon how wide a geographic net they cast. This means a minor loss or gain of species richness or functional diversity at the local or county level can look like a major gain at the state or national level, and yet be a net loss when viewed at a global scale. The findings have implications for how to assess biodiversity in a rapidly changing world, as well as how biodiversity information should be presented.

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