Cities are hotspots for threatened species

Ives, Christopher D., Lentini, Pia E., Threlfall, Caragh G., Ikin, Karen, Shanahan, Danielle F., Garrard, Georgia E., Bekessy, Sarah A., Fuller, Richard A., Mumaw, Laura, Rayner, Laura, Rowe, Ross, Valentine, Leonie E. and Kendal, Dave (2016) Cities are hotspots for threatened species. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 25 1: 117-126. doi:10.1111/geb.12404

Author Ives, Christopher D.
Lentini, Pia E.
Threlfall, Caragh G.
Ikin, Karen
Shanahan, Danielle F.
Garrard, Georgia E.
Bekessy, Sarah A.
Fuller, Richard A.
Mumaw, Laura
Rayner, Laura
Rowe, Ross
Valentine, Leonie E.
Kendal, Dave
Title Cities are hotspots for threatened species
Journal name Global Ecology and Biogeography   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1466-8238
Publication date 2016-01-01
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/geb.12404
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 25
Issue 1
Start page 117
End page 126
Total pages 10
Place of publication Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Aim Although urbanization impacts many species, there is little information on the patterns of occurrences of threatened species in urban relative to non-urban areas. By assessing the extent of the distribution of threatened species across all Australian cities, we aim to investigate the currently under-utilized opportunity that cities present for national biodiversity conservation.

Location Australian mainland, Tasmania and offshore islands.

Methods Distributions of Australia's 1643 legally protected terrestrial species (hereafter ‘threatened species’) were compiled. We assessed the extent to which they overlapped with 99 cities (of more than 10,000 people), with all non-urban areas, and with simulated ‘dummy’ cities which covered the same area and bioregion as the true cities but were non-urban. We analysed differences between animals and plants, and examined variability within these groups using species accumulation modelling. Threatened species richness of true versus dummy cities was analysed using generalized linear mixed-effects models.

Results Australian cities support substantially more nationally threatened animal and plant species than all other non-urban areas on a unit-area basis. Thirty per cent of threatened species were found to occur in cities. Distribution patterns differed between plants and animals: individual threatened plant species were generally found in fewer cities than threatened animal species, yet plants were more likely to have a greater proportion of their distribution in urban areas than animals. Individual cities tended to contain unique suites of threatened species, especially threatened plants. The analysis of true versus dummy cities demonstrated that, even after accounting for factors such as net primary productivity and distance to the coast, cities still consistently supported a greater number of threatened species.

Main conclusions This research highlights that Australian cities are important for the conservation of threatened species, and that the species assemblages of individual cities are relatively distinct. National conservation policy should recognize that cities play an integral role when planning for and managing threatened species.
Keyword Australia
Conservation policy
Species distributions
Threatened species
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 25 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 28 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Fri, 15 Jan 2016, 21:19:56 EST by Dr Richard Fuller on behalf of School of Biological Sciences