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Apeksha Darshetkar, , Pankaj Koparde
Journal of Threatened Taxa, Volume 15, pp 22471-22478; https://doi.org/10.11609/jott.7259.15.1.22471-22478

Abstract:
Members of the insect order Odonata are known as good ecological indicators. Many are sensitive to habitat modifications and are easily monitored for use in environmental assessment studies. Rapid assessments rely on efficient sampling techniques. However, there is limited information available on sampling techniques for adult odonates, and protocols require evaluation. To do this, we standardized counting methods during sampling of odonates from August to November 2016 at the Mula River, Pune, India. We used four counting techniques; full-width belt transect (FWBT), full-circle point count (FCPC), half-width belt transect (HWBT), and half-circle point count (HCPC). For HWBT and HCPC areas facing the river were sampled, and for each technique we took multiple temporal replicates. We compared species detected per unit time, species detected per unit area, new species detected per unit time, and new species detected per unit area. Additionally, we compared species estimates. With HCPC we detected the maximum number of species and new species per unit area, whereas FWBT returned maximum coverage of recorded species. We recommend our proposed techniques be considered in the future across various habitats to decide the most suitable sampling strategy for the different habitats or situations.
, Gabija Savickyte
Published: 24 January 2023
Abstract:
The assessment and monitoring of biodiversity in urban areas has been performed until now through dedicated on site studies and a small number of studies using online digital biodiversity databases. The question remains as to what extent an efficient and effective monitoring scheme could be implemented, one that not only facilitates comparisons across time and space, but also serves as an early change detection tool that complement local studies. Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) has been promoted for its central role, gathering and harmonizing biodiversity data worldwide, thereby facilitating the assessment and monitoring of biodiversity in multiple ecosystems. While GBIF data has been investigated for its potential at large scales (national, global) and in natural ecosystems, the question remains as to what extent, and in which context, is GBIF data applicable to urban biodiversity assessment and monitoring. In this study we have shown that the type of organisms surveyed -as well as its ecology and the spatial scale(s) of the assessments are critical to identify the effect of urban and green infrastructure in cities.
Published: 14 December 2022
by MDPI
Journal: Sustainability
Sustainability, Volume 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142416805

Abstract:
With increasing urbanization and related loss of biodiversity, it has become increasingly important to understand the determinants of biodiversity in cities, and to learn how we can maintain existing habitats and improve their quality for both wildlife and humans. Detrimental effects of urbanization on animals such as noise and light pollution, have frequently been reported, but comparatively little is known about the connection between different types of traffic infrastructure and their impacts on urban birds. Here, we provide an overview of the existing knowledge about bird responses to traffic-related stressors, and most importantly, we highlight that this aspect has not been satisfactorily investigated in urban environments. Therefore, we suggest suitable study systems and designs with which the effects of traffic infrastructure on bird communities in cities could be studied, and how biodiversity, in tandem with human wellbeing, in cities would benefit from improvements to the existing infrastructures. In doing so, we aim to strengthen the connection between human wellbeing and birds through research that will ultimately facilitate the development of sustainable cities.
Yixin Diao, Qianqian Zhao, Yue Weng, Zixin Huang, Yiqian Wu, Bojian Gu, Qing Zhao, Fang Wang
Published: 1 December 2022
Landscape and Urban Planning, Volume 228; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2022.104581

, Hasanuddin Lamit, Cecil C. Konijnendijk Van Den Bosch
Published: 30 November 2022
The publisher has not yet granted permission to display this abstract.
Published: 16 October 2022
by MDPI
Journal: Applied Sciences
Applied Sciences, Volume 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/app122010439

Abstract:
One of the goals of the scientific community is to equip the discipline of spatial planning with efficient tools to handle huge amounts of data. In this sense, unsupervised machine learning techniques (UMLT) can help overcome this obstacle to further the study of spatial dynamics. New machine-learning-based technologies make it possible to simulate the development of urban spatial dynamics and how they may interact with ecosystem services provided by nature. Modeling information derived from various land cover datasets, satellite earth observation and open resources such as Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) represent a key structural step for geospatial support for land use planning. Sustainability is certainly one of the paradigms on which planning and the study of past, present and future spatial dynamics must be based. Topics such as Urban Ecosystem Services have assumed such importance that they have become a prerogative on which to guide the administration in the difficult process of transformation, taking place not only in the urban context, but also in the peri-urban one. In this paper, we present an approach aimed at analyzing the performance of clustering methods to define a standardized system for spatial planning analysis and the study of associated dynamics. The methodology built ad hoc in this research was tested in the spatial context of the city of L’Aquila (Abruzzo, Italy) to identify the urbanized and non-urbanized area with a standardized and automatic method.
, Albert Tomchyshyn, Helene H. Wagner, Marc T.J. Johnson
Published: 21 September 2022
Journal: Urban Ecosystems
Urban Ecosystems pp 1-13; https://doi.org/10.1007/s11252-022-01278-9

The publisher has not yet granted permission to display this abstract.
, Marcos Callisto, Marden S. Linares, Robert M. Hughes, Bruna M. L. Romano, Moana Rothe-Neves, Juliana S. Silveira
Published: 8 September 2022
Frontiers in Environmental Science, Volume 10; https://doi.org/10.3389/fenvs.2022.921934

Abstract:
Environmental rehabilitation of urban streams has been widely applied in Global North countries, at least since the 1970s, but it is a recent approach in Global South countries. The objective of this paper is to evaluate whether the rehabilitation experience carried out since 2006 in three urban stream sites in the third-largest Brazilian metropolis (c. 5.5 million inhabitants) was and continues to be effective in terms of socio-environmental improvement after 10 years of interventions. These interventions included the rehabilitation of watercourses (e.g., improvement of water quality through the management of sewage and garbage, stabilization of riverbanks, revegetation of riparian zones, riverbed naturalization, removal of riverbank housing). We evaluated water quality, physical habitat structure, and benthic macroinvertebrate assemblages in three test sites in three sampling periods: pre-intervention (2004–2005), early post-intervention (2008–2011) and late post-intervention (2018–2019). Additionally, three reference-stream sites (2018–2019) were assessed to compare the conditions of the three tested sites versus the reference sites. We also assessed citizen perceptions concerning the interventions through questionnaires given to urban stream residents at the three tested sites in early and late post-rehabilitation (215 in 2008, 180 in 2019). The results of water quality monitoring showed a significant improvement in most parameters used to calculate the Water Quality Index (WQI) in the early intervention phase, and WQI scores have improved since. The physical habitat and macroinvertebrate indicators indicated moderate improvements. The residents indicated increased appreciation of the environmental improvements over 10 years. Given the results in Belo Horizonte, we believe that implementation and evaluation of similar projects and programs aimed at rehabilitating urban streams are technically viable using our approaches throughout the Global South.
Jian Chen, , Xifan Liu, Xihui Sun
Published: 30 August 2022
European Journal of Remote Sensing, Volume 55, pp 471-484; https://doi.org/10.1080/22797254.2022.2114382

Abstract:
This study takes the Zhouyuan site region, which is the most representative Western Zhou Dynasty (1046 BC-771BC) large city-site in China, as an example. Based on the interpretation results of satellite remote sensing images from 1973 to 2021, the paper systematically analyzed the evolution of landscape patterns in the Zhouyuan site region spanning for about 50 years using 4 methods, including land use classification, land use transfer matrix, landscape pattern distribution gravity center model and landscape pattern index. Additionally, the results show that nowadays Zhouyuan site is still in a period of accelerated invasion and destruction by natural and human factors, which indicates that the protection of the Zhouyuan site has been inadequate or even unsuccessful for a long time. For the purpose of making more accurate and better protection of the Zhouyuan site, four challenges and six protection recommendations have been put forward. Based on remote sensing and geographic information system (GIS), this paper contributed a method combining 4 models to analyze the spatial-temporal evolution characteristics of landscape pattern of ancient large city-sites, in order to provide more basis for the formulation of cultural relic protection strategies.
Published: 30 August 2022
by MDPI
Journal: Sustainability
Sustainability, Volume 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/su141710829

Abstract:
Human activity is affecting and transforming the natural environment, changing the ecosystem mosaic and natural biogeochemical processes in urban-industrial landscapes. Among the anthropogenic ecosystems, there are many present features of Novel Ecosystems (NE), e.g., the de novo created habitats on post-mineral excavation sites. The biological nature of the functional mechanisms of Novel Ecosystems is mostly unknown. In natural and semi-natural ecosystems, biodiversity is considered as the primary element influencing ecosystem processes and functioning. The preliminary studies conducted on post-mineral excavation sites have shown that, in poor oligotrophic habitats, the species composition of the assembled vascular plants is non-analogous, distinctive, and not found in natural and semi-natural habitats. This paper aims to present the gaps between scientific identification of the biological mechanisms driving ecosystem processes and functioning (including the expanding areas of Novel Ecosystems created de novo). Among the identified gaps, the following issues should be listed. The detailed identification and understanding of the processes and biodiversity-dependent functioning of Novel Ecosystems is crucial for proper environmental management, particularly when facing the challenges of ecological constraints and of global change. The ecology of Novel Ecosystems is a social and economic issue because of the relationships with densely populated urban-industrial areas.
, Julie L. P. Louvrier, Aimara Planillo, Sarah Kiefer, Sinah Drenske, Konstantin Börner, Milena Stillfried, Robert Hagen, Sophia Kimmig, Tanja M. Straka, et al.
Published: 3 August 2022
Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, Volume 10; https://doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2022.881247

Abstract:
The prevailing trend of increasing urbanization and habitat fragmentation makes knowledge of species’ habitat requirements and distribution a crucial factor in conservation and urban planning. Species distribution models (SDMs) offer powerful toolboxes for discriminating the underlying environmental factors driving habitat suitability. Nevertheless, challenges in SDMs emerge if multiple data sets - often sampled with different intention and therefore sampling scheme – can complement each other and increase predictive accuracy. Here, we investigate the potential of using recent data integration techniques to model potential habitat and movement corridors for Eurasian red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris), in an urban area. We constructed hierarchical models integrating data sets of different quality stemming from unstructured on one side and semi-structured wildlife observation campaigns on the other side in a combined likelihood approach and compared the results to modeling techniques based on only one data source - wherein all models were fit with the same selection of environmental variables. Our study highlights the increasing importance of considering multiple data sets for SDMs to enhance their predictive performance. We finally used Circuitscape (version 4.0.5) on the most robust SDM to delineate suitable movement corridors for red squirrels as a basis for planning road mortality mitigation measures. Our results indicate that even though red squirrels are common, urban habitats are rather small and partially lack connectivity along natural connectivity corridors in Berlin. Thus, additional fragmentation could bring the species closer to its limit to persist in urban environments, where our results can act as a template for conservation and management implications.
Published: 10 July 2022
by MDPI
Journal: Diversity
Diversity, Volume 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/d14070555

Abstract:
Bird habitats are becoming increasingly fragmented as a result of rapid urbanization. As one of the essential refuges for urban bird communities, mountain parks are of practical significance for studying the spatial changes of birds, which can inform the future planning of mountain park planning. In this study, we assessed the α, β, and functional diversity of bird communities in mountain parks in Fuzhou, China, at three levels of urbanization (urban, peri-urban, suburban) and explored how diversity (abundance, richness, α-diversity, Chao1) varies along the urbanization gradient. A three-month bird survey was conducted using the transect method to examine the impact of urbanization on bird community structures in mountain parks. In addition, we evaluated the functional diversity of bird guilds in order to identify potential indicator species for monitoring different urbanization gradients in mountain parks. The results showed that: (1) During the three bird surveys from December 2021 to February 2022, 96 bird species and 2429 individuals of 9 orders, 34 families, and 63 genera were identified. (2) Urbanization had a significant impact on the overall bird α-diversity (p = 0.040) and richness (p = 0.024) but not on the overall bird abundance (p = 0.056). (3) The results of non-metric multidimensional scaling showed significant variations among overall birds in mountain parks along with three urbanization levels (stress = 0.155, p = 0.027). Similarly, significant differences were observed in the upper-stratum guild (stress = 0.183, p = 0.049) but not in other diet and vertical foraging stratum guilds. (4) Five species were identified as potential candidates for monitoring the trends of urban gradients. Moreover, compared to insectivorous or omnivorous guilds, most carnivorous and herbivorous guilds may not be suitable for monitoring the negative effects of urbanization in mountain parks. Our findings can help inform urban mountain park management or restoration strategies intended to mitigate the adverse impacts of urbanization.
Published: 15 May 2022
European Planning Studies, Volume 31, pp 123-145; https://doi.org/10.1080/09654313.2022.2075221

Abstract:
We investigated whether green urban areas (GUA) improve the urban environment. Field measurements were conducted to record noise and light pollution as well as other environmental characteristics in four GUA in Athens. The biodiversity status of the examined areas was derived from the existing data. Not all GUA represent ecological refuges, mostly depending on their configuration. Special attention should be drawn to planning and designing GUA so that human pressures could not penetrate. Soundscape assessment combined with artificial lighting, environmental and biodiversity status investigation of a site clarifies the edge effect of ecosystems leading to an alternative, integrated, multidimensional management approach.
Itay Keren, , , Amir Balaban, Pua Bar (Kutiel
Published: 13 January 2022
Journal of Urban Ecology, Volume 8; https://doi.org/10.1093/jue/juac001

Abstract:
Urbanization is the land-use process that most significantly impacts flora and fauna. We conducted a multiple city comparison of two taxa to assess whether richness patterns are similar across cities and taxa. This study aimed to examine the effects socioecological factors, namely open area size, socioeconomic status and the built-up cover, on species richness and composition of plants and butterflies in five adjacent Mediterranean cities in Israel’s coastal plain. Vegetation surveys were conducted in 170 open area sites in various urban settings. In 34 of them, the presence of butterfly species was also recorded. Mixed-effect generalized linear models were used to examine the site's characteristics effect on the species richness. The identity of each city was included as a random effect in the models. Results indicated that overall plant species richness increased with patch size, whereas butterfly richness was not associated with this factor. Plant and butterfly species richness in all categories decreased with the increase in building cover, except for endemic plant species. The results demonstrate the complex contribution of urban open area patches to the biodiversity of different taxa, being conditional on their size, surrounding built-up area and socioeconomic values.
, Marina Allegrezza, Claudia Angiolini, Edoardo Biondi, Federica Bonini, Eva Del Vico, , , , Lorenzo Gianguzzi, et al.
Published: 31 December 2021
Journal: Plant Sociology
Plant Sociology, Volume 58, pp 99-118; https://doi.org/10.3897/pls2021582/08

Abstract:
The main purpose of the 92/43/EEC Habitats Directive is to contribute to the conservation of biodiversity, understood as habitat types and species of the flora and fauna of the European Union. To achieve this goal, natural and semi-natural biodiversity as a whole must be recognized and included in its annexes. As for the conservation of biotopes, named habitat types, Italy is unfortunately lacking as it the Annex I does not include important ecosystems that are typical of its territory, rare for biogeographical reasons or threatened. Therefore, the opportunity to identify a first list of significant habitats for central Italy is discussed here. For each of the new proposed types (new habitats or new subtypes) a sheet has been prepared to highlight their salient characteristics. The new proposals concern seven habitat types and one subtype: sedge and reeds formations (Freshwater large sedge and reed beds), willow shrublands (Shrubby willow formations of river banks and fens), Apennine garrigues (Apennine hilly and montane garrigues), a new subtype of Annex I Habitat 6130 (Communities of herbaceous and dwarf shrub-suffrutescent plants of Italian ultramafic substrates), ancient olive groves ("Centuries-old olive groves" with evergreen Quercus spp. and arborescent matorral), secondary meadows (Italian submontane and montane pastured meadows dominated by Cynosurus cristatus), badlands (Pioneer halophilous and sub-halophilous communities of “calanchi” and “biancane” badlands) and hop-hornbeam woods (Italian-Balkan hop-hornbeam woods).
, S. N. Handel, , I. Brostella
Published: 20 November 2021
Landscape Ecology, Volume 37, pp 601-617; https://doi.org/10.1007/s10980-021-01372-x

The publisher has not yet granted permission to display this abstract.
, Anne Boushall, Emma Brand, Philip J. Baker
Published: 5 November 2021
Journal: PLOS ONE
Abstract:
Urban areas are associated with high levels of habitat fragmentation. For some terrestrial species with limited climbing abilities, property boundaries can pose a significant problem by limiting access to residential gardens. The West European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) has declined markedly in the UK but is commonly found in areas of human habitation, including residential gardens. ‘Hedgehog Street’ is a public engagement campaign aimed at recruiting volunteers (‘Hedgehog Champions’) to create access points (‘hedgehog highways’) across garden boundaries to improve habitat connectivity. In this study, we used a series of questionnaire surveys to explore motivations for and obstacles to the creation of highways. Householders were more likely to have created a highway if they were already aware of the Hedgehog Street campaign, if their garden contained a high number of wildlife-friendly features and if they considered watching wildlife to be important. Hedgehog Champions created, on average, 1.69 highways each with 52.0% creating none; this would equate to an estimated >120,000 across all registered Champions. In comparison, 6.1–29.8% of non-Champions stated that they had made a highway. However, most highways had been created in boundaries that could already be traversed via naturally occurring holes: only 11.4% of garden boundaries could be traversed, and 3.2% of gardens accessed, just via a hedgehog highway. In addition, only 5.0% of gardens were considered totally inaccessible to hedgehogs. The most common reasons cited for not having made a highway were that householders’ gardens were already accessible to hedgehogs followed by concerns relating to boundary ownership and / or communicating with neighbours. Future studies need to identify strategies for overcoming these obstacles to maximize citizen engagement, particularly with those householders who are not innately “wildlife-friendly”, and to quantify the degree to which networks of highways affect patterns of individual movement and, ultimately, populations.
, , , Philip W. Bateman, Fabien Aubret, , Brenton von Takach
Published: 29 October 2021
Journal: PLOS ONE
Abstract:
Urbanisation alters landscapes, introduces wildlife to novel stressors, and fragments habitats into remnant ‘islands’. Within these islands, isolated wildlife populations can experience genetic drift and subsequently suffer from inbreeding depression and reduced adaptive potential. The Western tiger snake (Notechis scutatus occidentalis) is a predator of wetlands in the Swan Coastal Plain, a unique bioregion that has suffered substantial degradation through the development of the city of Perth, Western Australia. Within the urban matrix, tiger snakes now only persist in a handful of wetlands where they are known to bioaccumulate a suite of contaminants, and have recently been suggested as a relevant bioindicator of ecosystem health. Here, we used genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data to explore the contemporary population genomics of seven tiger snake populations across the urban matrix. Specifically, we used population genomic structure and diversity, effective population sizes (Ne), and heterozygosity-fitness correlations to assess fitness of each population with respect to urbanisation. We found that population genomic structure was strongest across the northern and southern sides of a major river system, with the northern cluster of populations exhibiting lower heterozygosities than the southern cluster, likely due to a lack of historical gene flow. We also observed an increasing signal of inbreeding and genetic drift with increasing geographic isolation due to urbanisation. Effective population sizes (Ne) at most sites were small (< 100), with Ne appearing to reflect the area of available habitat rather than the degree of adjacent urbanisation. This suggests that ecosystem management and restoration may be the best method to buffer the further loss of genetic diversity in urban wetlands. If tiger snake populations continue to decline in urban areas, our results provide a baseline measure of genomic diversity, as well as highlighting which ‘islands’ of habitat are most in need of management and protection.
Audrey Muratet, Myr Muratet, Marie Pellaton, Marion Brun, Mathilde Baude, Assaf Shwartz, Colin Fontaine
Published: 19 October 2021
The publisher has not yet granted permission to display this abstract.
Published: 10 October 2021
by MDPI
Journal: Remote Sensing
Remote Sensing, Volume 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13204041

Abstract:
Studying green urban infrastructure is important because of its ecosystem services, contributing to the welfare and comfort of citizens, mitigation of climate changes, and sustainability goals. Urban planning can increase or diminish the performance of ecosystem services. Despite numerous studies on the green infrastructure–services–planning nexus, there are very few concrete planning recommendations. This study aims to provide such recommendations for a broader audience by analyzing the dynamic of open green areas in Polish and Romanian cities, connected with its drivers. A novel approach including mathematical modeling and geostatistical analyses was applied to Urban Atlas and statistical yearbooks data. The results indicated that open green areas were lost and fragmented in all Romanian and Polish cities during 2006–2018. The drivers included urban built-up areas, population and density, the number of building permits, number of new dwellings completed, number of employees, and total length of roads. The study also revealed a tremendous lack of consistent datasets across the countries using the same statistical indicators. Based on the findings, planners should aim to preserve and develop urban greenery and maintain its continuity. City managers should use more research and decision-making policy developers to develop targeted policies and scientists should develop planning manuals.
Adel L. Peña,
Published: 1 October 2021
Natural Areas Journal, Volume 41, pp 258-272; https://doi.org/10.3375/20-25

Abstract:
<!-- *** Custom HTML *** --> The pine rocklands of southern Florida are an imperiled habitat as the higher, drier areas of land have been steadily developed over the last century. Little of the original extent of this unique ecosystem remains today, with much of it in remnant fragments affected by surrounding development. With this study, we sought to investigate temporal changes in diversity of pine rockland Fabaceae induced by anthropogenic factors. We provide a status update for Fabaceae taxa, a diverse and important group of plants in pine rocklands. Herbarium collections (1339 records) spanning 175 y (from 1830 to 2015) were used to analyze the species frequency and richness of plants collected. The results indicated temporal fluctuations in collection diversity with frequency of native species highest prior to the year 1920, and nonnative legume richness increasing with the decades. The accompanying species list resulting from the inventory included 119 Fabaceae species, in 52 genera, with an additional 18 species not previously listed for pine rocklands. Many other studies have documented the change in pine rockland cover and its extreme extent of habitat loss and fragmentation as the result of human development and population growth. The results of this study document the indirect effects of human habitation on remnant natural areas, as evidenced by collections from Miami-Dade County, with exotic invasives increasingly represented over time. The results also document the historical distributions of collections of Fabaceae species, helpful to conservation and restoration efforts in the globally imperiled pine rocklands of southern Florida.
, Melanie Baker, Ian White, Andrea Powell, Ben Gregory, Martin Varley, Jane L. Hurst, Paula Stockley
Published: 28 September 2021
Conservation Science and Practice, Volume 3; https://doi.org/10.1111/csp2.544

, Daniele Pellitteri-Rosa, Elisa Torretta, Francesco Nonnis Marzano, Alberto Meriggi
Published: 3 August 2021
Ecological Indicators, Volume 130; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolind.2021.108060

The publisher has not yet granted permission to display this abstract.
Katie M. Spahr, Colin D. Bell, Elizabeth M. Gallo, , Terri S. Hogue
Journal of Sustainable Water in the Built Environment, Volume 7; https://doi.org/10.1061/jswbay.0000952

Abstract:
As we move into an era of increased urbanization, stormwater practitioners are charged with creating multibenefit solutions through the installation of stormwater control measures (SCMs). Two drivers facilitate the accrual of benefits in SCMs: hydrologic or water quality process and vegetation. This study investigated the feasibility of incorporating benefits beyond water quality and quantity control into the SCM planning process. A critical review was used to determine which benefits would be assessed with hydrologic and water quality modeling or a complementary conceptual framework. Drawing on common themes in the literature, the conceptual framework of the 4 Cs (community, context, connectivity, and canopy) was created to assess vegetation-based benefits. To demonstrate the coupled benefit assessment, a case study was performed in a neighborhood of Denver, Colorado. Results from hydrologic and water quality modeling show that vegetated swales provide the most preferred solution. From the vegetation-based benefit perspective, we find that the modeled area of the vegetated swales is only 0.2% by area, which is likely too small to have a measurable benefit effect at the neighborhood scale. We show how the 4 Cs can be used to leverage existing greenness to maximize the potential vegetation-based benefit of swales and consider how existing sociodemographic and vegetation trends can be leveraged to make benefit-driven decisions.
, , Alexander Szallies, Stephan Brenneisen
Published: 21 July 2021
Journal: Urban Ecosystems
Urban Ecosystems, Volume 25, pp 205-219; https://doi.org/10.1007/s11252-021-01145-z

The publisher has not yet granted permission to display this abstract.
Alessandro Gabbianelli, Bianca Maria Rinaldi,
Published: 8 June 2021
Landscape Research, Volume 46, pp 728-747; https://doi.org/10.1080/01426397.2021.1931072

Abstract:
Current academic debate suggests that landscape architects have a crucial role in the conservationof engaging of biodiversity within urban and peri-urban contexts. By modulating the visual and physical interaction between humans and wildlife habitats, landscape architecture projects foster an aesthetic experience of biodiversity, contributing to shaping human understanding of its ecological value. This article discusses the relationship between landscape architecture and the promotion of biodiversity in Italy through a critical reading of a variety of design interventions ranging from the enhancement of sites included within nature reserves, to the reconstruction of lost natural habitats, to the inclusion of existing habitats in newly designed urban landscapes. Proposing four different typologies of spatial practices, defined according to the projects’ ability to engage visual perception and bodily movement, this paper aims at positioning the Italian context within the current global discussion on the role of landscape architecture in eliciting an aesthetic experience of biodiversity.
Silvia Ventura Cortés-Arzola,
Annals of the Entomological Society of America, Volume 114, pp 511-521; https://doi.org/10.1093/aesa/saab017

Abstract:
Insect diversity levels and change in remnant urban habitats have been poorly examined in Neotropical regions. The aim of this study was to evaluate the diversity and composition of foliage/shrub dwelling beetles (Insecta: Coleoptera) regarding the influence of patch attributes (i.e., patch size, connectivity, and surrounding matrix) and within-patch habitat complexity, in an urban landscape at Chetumal, Yucatán peninsula, Mexico. Despite the potential species-specific responses to urban landscape pattern, our study reveals that there are effects of patch spatial features and habitat complexity on overall beetle diversity. These effects are as follows: 1) relatively larger urban patches contained higher overall beetle richness, 2) beetle species composition varied significantly regarding understory vegetation structure and tree richness, and 3) patches of intermediate vegetation age had highest beetle richness. This research provides a case study of patch and habitat features related to Neotropical insect assemblages in urban settlements, underlying the importance of using ecological information to offer management recommendations in ever-expanding urban tropical settlements.
, Michael Reich, Asmus Zoch
Published: 5 May 2021
Basic and Applied Ecology, Volume 54, pp 85-97; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.baae.2021.04.012

The publisher has not yet granted permission to display this abstract.
Published: 18 April 2021
by MDPI
Journal: Land
Abstract:
Land cover and use changes are important to study for their impact on ecosystem services and ultimately on sustainability. In urban environments, a particularly important research question addresses the relationship between urbanization-related changes and biodiversity, subject to controversies in the literature. Birds are an important ecological group, and useful for answering this question. The present study builds upon the hypothesis according to which avian diversity decreases with urbanization. In order to answer it, a sample of 4245 observations from 650 sites in Annaba, Algeria, obtained through the point abundance index method, were investigated by computing Shannon-Wiener’s diversity index and the species richness, mapping them, and analyzing the results statistically. The findings confirm the study hypothesis and are relevant for planning, as they stress the role of urban green spaces as biodiversity hotspots, and plead for the need of connecting them. From a planning perspective, the results emphasize the need for interconnecting the green infrastructure through avian corridors. Moreover, the results fill in an important lack of data on the biodiversity of the region, and are relevant for other similar Mediterranean areas. Future studies could use the findings to compare with data from other countries and continents.
Published: 30 March 2021
by MDPI
Journal: Forests
Forests, Volume 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12040416

Abstract:
The spatial heterogeneity of plant diversity at the neighborhood scale has less been understood, although it is very important for the planning and management of neighborhood landscape. In this case study of Beijing, we conducted intensive investigations of the plant diversity in different neighborhoods along a rural–urban gradient. The results showed that the mean numbers of plant species per neighborhood were 30.5 for trees, 18.8 for shrubs, and 31.9 for herbs, respectively. There were significant logarithmic relationships between the numbers of species and patch area, indicating that larger patches within neighborhoods could harbor more plant species. Hierarchical linear modeling showed that the variations in plant diversity within neighborhoods were higher than those between neighborhoods. The number of species increased logistically with both the number of patches within neighborhoods and the number of neighborhoods, suggesting that it is important to sample a sufficient number of patches within neighborhoods, as well as a sufficient number of neighborhoods in order to sample 90% of the plant species during the investigation of plant diversity in urban neighborhoods. So the hierarchical design of sampling should be recommended for investigating plant diversity in urban areas.
Published: 18 March 2021
Journal: Trees
Abstract:
Key message: A model for sustainable planning of urban tree stocks is proposed, incorporating growth, mortality, replacement rates and ecosystem service provision, providing a basis for planning of urban tree stocks. Many recent studies have improved the knowledge about urban trees, their structures, functions, and ecosystem services. We introduce a concept and model for the sustainable management of urban trees, analogous to the concept of sustainable forestry developed by Carl von Carlowitz and others. The main drivers of the model are species-specific tree diameter growth functions and mortality rates. Based on the initial tree stock and options for the annual replanting, the shift of the distribution of the number of trees per age class can be predicted with progressing time. Structural characteristics such as biomass and leaf area are derived from tree dimensions that can be related to functions such as carbon sequestration or cooling. To demonstrate the potential of the dynamic model, we first show how different initial stocks of trees can be quantitatively assessed by sustainability indicators compared to a target stock. Second, we derive proxy variables for ecosystem services (e.g. biomass for carbon sequestration, leaf area for deposition and shading) from a given distribution of the number of trees per age class. Third, we show by scenario analyses how selected ecosystem services and functions may be improved by combining complementary tree species. We exercise one aspect (cooling) of one ecosystem service (temperature mitigation) as an example. The approach integrates mosaic pieces of knowledge about urban trees, their structures, functions, and resulting ecosystem services. The presented model makes this knowledge available for a sustainable management of urban tree stocks. We discuss the potential and relevance of the developed concept and model for ecologically and economically sustainable planning and management, in view of progressing urbanization and environmental changes.
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