Foraging height and landscape context predict the relative abundance of bird species in urban vegetation patches

Shanahan, D. F., Possingham, H. P. and Martin, T. G. (2011) Foraging height and landscape context predict the relative abundance of bird species in urban vegetation patches. Austral Ecology, 36 8: 944-953. doi:10.1111/j.1442-9993.2010.02225.x


Author Shanahan, D. F.
Possingham, H. P.
Martin, T. G.
Title Foraging height and landscape context predict the relative abundance of bird species in urban vegetation patches
Journal name Austral Ecology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1442-9985
1442-9993
Publication date 2011-12
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1442-9993.2010.02225.x
Volume 36
Issue 8
Start page 944
End page 953
Total pages 10
Place of publication Richmond, Vic., Australia
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia
Collection year 2012
Language eng
Formatted abstract
In Australian urban environments, revegetation and vegetation restoration are increasingly utilized conservation actions. Simple methods that help assess the utility of urban vegetation for bird species will help direct this effort for bird conservation purposes. We therefore examine whether ecological principles can be used to predict, a priori, the relative abundance of different bird species in urban vegetation. Our model proposes that a bird species will be in greater abundance where vegetation structure better reflects its foraging height requirements, and this relationship will be moderated by the landscape context of the patch. To quantify and test this model, we created an index to rank existing and revegetated urban vegetation sites in order of greatest expected abundance for each of 30 bird species. We tested this model, alongside two simpler models which consider landscape context and foraging height preferences alone, using bird abundance data from 20 woodland remnants and 20 revegetated sites in Brisbane, Australia. From these bird abundance data, we calculated the relative abundance of each species between the top-ranking sites and lowest-ranking sites. The model which incorporated both foraging height requirements and landscape context made predictions that were positively correlated with the data for 77% of species in remnant vegetation and 67% in revegetation. The results varied across species groups; for example, we achieved lower predictive success for canopy foraging species in the less mature revegetation sites. Overall, this model provided a reasonable level of predictive accuracy despite the diversity of factors which can influence species occurrence in urban landscapes. The model is generic and, subject to further testing, can be used to examine the effect of manipulating vegetation structure and landscape context on the abundance of different bird species in urban vegetation. This could provide a cost-effective tool for directing urban restoration and revegetation efforts.
Keyword a priori model
Foraging behaviour
Landscape ecology
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2012 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
 
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