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Urban Ecosystems 

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Renaissance of a rural artifact in a city with a million people: biodiversity responses to an agro-forestry restoration in a large urban traditional fruit orchard
06. November 2017
Abstract The rural landscapes surrounding large cities are rapidly becoming incorporated into the urban environment. The most conspicuous changes involve green spaces, such as former agro-forestry systems like fruit orchards. In this paper, we assess the influence on biodiversity of restoring a large urban traditional fruit orchard as reflected by six selected taxa: plants, lichens, butterflies, beetles, orthopteroids and birds. The study was performed in Prague, which is the capital city of the Czech Republic and has more than a million inhabitants. We studied the effect...
Human perceptions of an avian predator in an urban ecosystem: close proximity to nests increases fondness among local residents
03. November 2017
Abstract How humans view their local birds influences the habitat quality for the birds. Humans that enjoy birds will often consider them when altering landscapes or may enhance their own property to benefit the birds (e.g. maintaining birdfeeders, keeping cats indoors). Human perceptions of hawks are unique as hawks predatory and much larger than most other urban birds. From June–July 2016, we surveyed 280 homes near Red-tailed Hawk’s (Buteo jamaicensis) nests in Reno-Sparks, NV about their perceptions of and experiences with hawks. Seventy percent of residents...
An urban stream can support a healthy population of coastal cutthroat trout
30. Oktober 2017
Abstract Urbanization presents numerous challenges to aquatic species. For fish, typical threats include altered flow dynamics, poor water quality, and degraded food webs. These threats can be detrimental to fish and whether urban environments can support healthy populations is unclear. Tryon Creek is one of the largest urban watersheds in Portland, Oregon where developed land accounts for 55.6% of total land use. We used demographic, life history, disease, and genetic indices to assess the overall health of the Coastal Cutthroat Trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii) population in...
Large-scale commonness is the best predictor of bird species presence in European cities
26. Oktober 2017
Abstract Urban bird communities are homogenized across large spatial scales, suggesting that the urban environment acts as an environmental filter. We hypothesize that large scale commonness is a better predictor of urban affinity of birds than any particular species trait. We estimated the relative importance of taxonomy, reproductive, ecological and morphological traits, and commonness of individual bird species. We compiled data on i) breeding bird communities of 41 European cities from urban bird atlases, and ii) regional bird assemblages defined by nine grid cells of...
Terrestrial habitat and individual fitness increase survival of a freshwater turtle in an urban landscape
10. Oktober 2017
Abstract Urbanisation is causing rapid land-use change worldwide. Populations of freshwater turtles are vulnerable to impacts of urbanisation such as habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation, because many species require interconnected aquatic and terrestrial habitats. Understanding the processes that underpin survival in urban areas is critical in managing species that may vary in their responses to urbanisation. Here, we conducted a mark-recapture study of a common freshwater turtle (Chelodina longicollis) at 20 wetlands over five years across a broad geographical...
A fig tree in a concrete jungle: fine-scale population genetic structure of the cluster fig Ficus racemosa in an urban environment
07. Oktober 2017
Abstract Urban vegetation is an essential requirement in cities for mitigating pollution, heat island effects and providing food and shelter to urban fauna. Efforts to conserve and augment green cover in cities, however, often lack data on the genetic diversity of urban trees, which could be crucial to the success of such programmes. We investigate the population genetics of the cluster fig Ficus racemosa, which occurs naturally in Indian cities and is a keystone species for urban fauna. Genetic analysis of 51 F. racemosa trees in urban Bangalore, India, shows no evidence...
Erratum to: Beyond the urban stream syndrome: organic matter budget for diagnostics and restoration of an impaired urban river
06. Oktober 2017
Abstract This article was unintentionally published twice in this journal, by the same authors.
Raptor nesting locations along an urban density gradient in the Great Basin, USA
02. Oktober 2017
Abstract Raptors are the most prevalent group of urban apex predators, and the majority of raptor genera in North America have been recorded using urban areas. Prior research assessments along urban-wildland gradients show that urban habitat preference varies by raptor species and that raptor nesting preferences within urban settings may vary. Attempts to understand the intra- and inter-specific nesting patterns along an urban gradient would advance extant knowledge. Here we present the locations of individual nest sites of nine raptor species along an urban gradient in...
Urban ornamental trees: a source of current invaders; a case study from a European City
01. Oktober 2017
Abstract Human made habitats are considered to be important hotspots of biodiversity of native as well as alien plant species. Due to high propagule pressure caused by human activities they serve as a source of introduction of alien plant species. We used the database of planted ornamental trees and shrubs for Brno, Czech Republic, to determine the significance of introduction effort given by intensity of planting as a factor in woody plant naturalization. Of all planted woody taxa, 15% were recognized as spontaneously growing in the urban area and there was a...
Factors determining the occupancy of Trumpeter Hornbills in urban-forest mosaics of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
01. Oktober 2017
Abstract Understanding the factors determining the occupancy and detection probability of birds in human dominated environments is important for their conservation. In this study we investigated various environmental variables believed to influence the site occupancy and detection probability of Trumpeter Hornbill (Bycanistes bucinator) in urban-forest mosaics of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Presence/absence data were collected from a total of 50 point count stations established between September 2014 and March 2015 in urban-forest mosaics of Durban, Eshowe and Mtunzini...
Perceptions of rodent-associated problems: an experience in urban and rural areas of Yucatan, Mexico
01. Oktober 2017
Abstract Rodents are a threat to agriculture and homes, and are a public health risk. Local perceptions about rodents and the damage they cause are vital, as a first step, to the design and implementation of rodent control or educational programs. A total of 111 interviews were conducted in two urban neighborhoods and two rural villages in Yucatan, Mexico. More than 90% of the interviewed inhabitants perceived rodents as a problem. The fear of rodents (57%), damage to food and stocks (56%), and damage to clothes (34%), were the most cited problems. In the urban...
Taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional diversity of an urban Amazonian avifauna
01. Oktober 2017
Abstract Amazonia is undergoing rapid urbanisation, but nothing has been published on the structure and function of urban Amazonian avifaunas. Here we present the results of a year-long survey of the avifauna of an Amazonian city, exploring temporal variation in its taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional diversity. We found urban bird communities to be taxonomically depauperate and dominated by a small subset of common species typical of second growth and river-edge habitats. Broad patterns of phylogenetic community similarity typically resembled those found in other...
The matrix affects carabid beetle assemblages in linear urban ruderal habitats
01. Oktober 2017
Abstract Matrix contrasts affect communities in patchy landscapes by influencing resources, abiotic conditions and spill-over effects. However, current knowledge is significantly biased towards forest and rural communities. We examined the effects of three different matrix types, i.e., low, intermediate and high contrasts, on carabid beetle assemblages at urban railway verges in two climatic regions. Study sites were located in Finland and in Slovenia. Using pitfall trapping, non-metric multidimensional scaling and generalised linear mixed models, we investigated...
Estimating urban lawn cover in space and time: Case studies in three Swedish cities
01. Oktober 2017
Abstract Lawns are considered monocultures and lesser contributors to sustainability than diverse nature but are still a dominating green area feature and an important cultural phenomenon in cities. Lawns have esthetical values, provide playground, are potential habitat for species, contribute to carbon sequestration and water infiltration, but also increase pesticides, fertilization, are monocultures and costly to manage at the same time. To evaluate the potential impact of lawns, whether positive or negative, it is of interest to estimate the total lawn cover in...
Urbanization impacts the taxonomic and functional structure of aquatic macroinvertebrate communities in a small Neotropical city
01. Oktober 2017
Abstract Due to habitat fragmentation, resource disruption and pollution, urbanization is one of the most destructive forms of anthropization affecting ecosystems worldwide. Generally, human-mediated perturbations dramatically alter species diversity in urban sites compared to the surroundings, thus influencing the functioning of the entire ecosystem. We investigated the taxonomic and functional diversity patterns of the aquatic macroinvertebrate communities in tank bromeliads by comparing those found in a small Neotropical city with those from an adjacent rural site...
Back to nature! Or not? Urban dwellers and their forest in berlin
01. Oktober 2017
Abstract What type of urban nature do urban dwellers prefer? Contributing to this ongoing discussion, this study presents the results of an internet and on-site field survey on general use and visitation pattern conducted in Grunewald Forest via a questionnaire; this is a 3000 ha area southwest of Berlin, Germany. The questions were developed in close cooperation with the local forestry administration and targeted the uncovering of user-specific needs and climate change-related conflicts. More than 1300 valid answers were analyzed, which made it possible to (1...
Temporally stable and distinct fish assemblages between stream and earthen stormwater drain reaches in an urban watershed
01. Oktober 2017
Abstract Streams and rivers have essential roles in landscape connectivity; however, urban watersheds are frequently modified to drain stormwater from urban areas. To determine whether an earthen stormwater drain in an urban landscape provides fish habitat temporally, we compared the fish assemblage among three reaches of a contiguous urbanized watershed in Kanata, Ontario, Canada. Watts Creek is connected to an earthen municipal surface stormwater drain (herein Kizell Drain), before discharging into the Ottawa River. We delineated transects in three reaches of the...
Ecological and genetic consequences of fragmentation in a semiarid Mediterranean urban forest
01. Oktober 2017
Abstract Urbanization threatens biodiversity worldwide and is expected to increase in the future. This involves intensification of fragmentation and increase of urban forest remnants. Thus, it is important to understand the functioning of these patches for the preservation of local biodiversity. Mutualistic interactions such as seed dispersal have a key role in the dynamics of plant populations and could help to mitigate the negative effects of fragmentation on wild plant populations. In this context, we have used the mastic Pistacia lentiscus, a common Mediterranean...
Life pattern of urban trees: A growth-modelling approach
01. Oktober 2017
Abstract Urban afforestation improves life quality in urban centers providing social and environmental benefits. Understanding growth of urban trees exposed to air pollution will support planning, managing and expanding urban areas. This approach intends to determine growth patterns of urban trees to support future urban planning. Non-destructive samples were collected from trees of Araucaria angustifolia (Bertol.) Kuntze in Araucaria city, Parana State, Brazil. Growth rings were related to pollutant concentrations and meteorological series. Growth reduction was...
The influence of exurban landscapes and local site characteristics on riparian vegetation
01. Oktober 2017
Abstract The southern Appalachian Mountains have experienced large population growth and a change in land use in the past 30 years. The majority of development has been low density, suburban land, known as exurban development. The long-term effects of exurbanization on riparian vegetative communities in the southeastern Appalachian Mountains are not well known. We sought to determine if vegetative community composition and structure change as a function of watershed–level variables such as time since neighborhood development or percent impervious surface within the...

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