Biotic homogenization and alien bird species along an urban gradient in South Africa

van Rensburg, Berndt J., Peacock, Derick S. and Robertson, Mark P. (2009) Biotic homogenization and alien bird species along an urban gradient in South Africa. Landscape and Urban Planning, 92 3-4: 233-241. doi:10.1016/j.landurbplan.2009.05.002

Author van Rensburg, Berndt J.
Peacock, Derick S.
Robertson, Mark P.
Title Biotic homogenization and alien bird species along an urban gradient in South Africa
Journal name Landscape and Urban Planning   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0169-2046
Publication date 2009-09-30
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2009.05.002
Volume 92
Issue 3-4
Start page 233
End page 241
Total pages 9
Place of publication Amsterdam, Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Similar to the process seen in invasion biology, urbanized environments lead to biotic homogenization with a few species, often alien, dominating the urban habitat. We investigated avian communities across an urban gradient in Pretoria (South Africa). We defined three urbanization zones: urban, suburban and semi-natural, based on land-cover. We conducted point counts of all species at each of 13 sites in these zones over a 4-month period. We found significantly more species in the semi-natural zone than the urban zone but abundance was significantly lower in semi-natural than urban. The increase in abundance was mainly as a result of alien species with the three most abundant species in the urban zone being all alien. Semi-natural contained fewer alien species than urban and significantly fewer than suburban. The Common Myna Acridotheres tristis was the only alien species that was observed in all three urbanization zones and was the second most abundant species in the suburban and urban zones. Our study supports the process of biotic homogenization, where an increase in alien species occurs in the urban compared to semi-natural zone. Although the suburban zone made an important contribution towards native bird abundance in a larger city environment, this environment was also an important environment for alien species, especially for the Common Myna.
Keyword Acridotheres tristis
Biotic homogenization
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

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