Assessing the Impact of Local Habitat Variables and Landscape Context on Riparian Birds in Agricultural, Urbanized, and Native L

Authors: 
David Luther; Jodi Hilty; Jack Weiss; Caitlin Cornwall; et al.
Publication Date: 
2008
Publisher: 
Biodiversity and Conservation, 23 January 2008 (published online)
Other Citation Info: 
ISSN 1572-9710 (Online)
Long Title: 
Assessing the Impact of Local Habitat Variables and Landscape Context on Riparian Birds in Agricultural, Urbanized, and Native Landscapes
Abstract: 

Large tracts of natural habitat are being replaced by agriculture and urban sprawl in Mediterranean regions worldwide. We have limited knowledge about the effects of human activities on native species in these landscapes and which, if any, management practices might enhance the conservation of native biodiversity within them. Through a citizen volunteer bird-monitoring project, we compared bird abundance and species richness in northern Californian riparian zones surrounded by vineyards, urban areas, and natural areas. We assessed both local and landscape-level variables that may enhance native bird diversity in each land use type. We also demonstrate a new statistical approach, generalized estimating equations, to analyze highly variable data, such as that collected by volunteers. Avian abundance was highly correlated with both landscape context and local habitat variables, while avian richness was correlated with local habitat variables, specifically shrub richness, and percent of tree cover. In particular, shrub species richness has a strong positive correlation with riparian-preferring bird species. This suggests that active local management of riparian zones in human-dominated landscapes can increase our ability to retain native bird species in these areas.

This project was conducted on 9 creeks on private and public properties in Sonoma County, California, in the Sonoma Creek watershed. Figure 1 illustrates bird count locations.

Keywords: 
Habitat conservation; Birds; Biodiversity
Progress: 
Complete
Name: 
David Luther
Organization: 
University of North Carolina
Address: 
217 Miller Hall, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3275, USA
Email: 
dluther@unc.edu

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