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Biodiversity and green infrastructure in urban landscapes
Örebro University, Department of Natural Sciences.
2004 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)Alternative title
Biologisk mångfald och grön infrastruktur i urbana landskap (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

In this thesis, I evaluate the extent to which biodiversity is affected, and taken into consideration by, urban planning. Based on landscape ecology, I apply an interdisciplinary approach. In addition to natural science, I have included social and political sciences, as methods from these two disciplines were required to study issues dealing with both biodiversity and urban planning.

Urbanisation affects biodiversity in several ways. For example, changes in vegetation structures as well as an increased fragmentation of natural habitats will take place. In a fragmented environment an increased nest predation rate occurs. In the smaller spatial scale, predation rate was found to be higher closer to the edge of natural habitat patches than further inside. I also carried out research in order to identify the local and regional effects that cities have on compositional and structural elements of biodiversity. The amount and quality of green space and natural vegetation increased from the centre to the periphery of the city. Avian species richness showed the same trend with the exception of avian generalists, which showed the opposite trend. Certain qualities such as old-growth trees and dead wood, as well as availability of green space, were identified as being important for avian diversity. These findings emphasise the importance of urban green space with natural structures to maintain high ecological diversity.

Based on analyses of policy documents, I examined whether Swedish local authorities and planners take urban green spaces into consideration as potential multifunctional systems, including the maintenance of biodiversity. The result showed that Swedish planners and local decision-makers have not fully understood the multiple uses of urban green space, for example, the same area can act as a recreation area, improve the local climate, and maintain biodiversity.

A normative model for conservation planning in urban landscapes was defined and operationalised by using landscape ecological principles. Urban planners were interviewed about their interest, ability, and knowledge with respect to planning for functional networks of green spaces in relation to the normative model. The unanimous view was that planners were interested in the concept of biodiversity. However, they were restricted by the extent of their knowledge, by personnel lacking suitable qualifications, and by inadequacies within their organisations. To deal with this, better integration of natural, social, and political sciences in education, as well as policy implementation should be developed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro universitetsbibliotek , 2004. , p. 46
Series
Örebro Studies in Biology, ISSN 1650-8793 ; 2
Keywords [en]
Biologi, Birds in cities, Communication between sciences, Conservation planning, Landscape ecology, Swedish green planning, Urban green space, Urban planning, Urban vegetation
Keywords [sv]
Biologi med ekologisk inriktning
National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
Biologi med ekologisk inriktning
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-69ISBN: 91-7668-387-7 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-69DiVA, id: diva2:137125
Public defence
2004-05-28, Hörsal P 2, Prismahuset, Örebro universitet, Fakultetsgatan 1, Örebro, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2004-05-07 Created: 2004-05-07 Last updated: 2017-10-18Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Availability and use of natural tree holes by cavity nesting birds in a Swedish deciduous forest
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Availability and use of natural tree holes by cavity nesting birds in a Swedish deciduous forest
1998 (English)In: Ardea, ISSN 0373-2266, E-ISSN 2213-1175, Vol. 86, no 1, p. 109-119Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Cavities in trees are an important resource as nest sites or shelter for many birds and mammals. The aim of this study was to quantify the density of cavities, their characteristics, and their origin, and the implication these have on nest site choice by hole-nesting birds. The study was carried out in a deciduous forest in south central Sweden during two years. The forest was dominated by Pendunculate Oak Quercus robur, Norway Maple Acer plantanoides, Small-leaved Lime Tilia cordata, Rowan Sorbus aucuparia, birch Betula pubescens/verrucosa and Aspen Populus tremula, in decreasing order of abundance. We found an average cavity density of 60.4 ha-1. Limb holes were the most abundant type found (53%) and were also most frequently used by hole-nesting birds (64.8%). Pendunculate Oak and Aspen were the two tree species richest in cavities. Limb holes dominated in Pendunculate Oak while woodpecker-excavated holes dominated in aspen. Cavities with occupied bird nests had narrower entrances, were located higher up, had smaller volumes, thicker walls and a smaller circumference of the stem at the hole compared with unoccupied cavities. Limb holes, woodpecker holes and other hole types were used as nest sites by birds in proportion to their frequency of occurrence in the forest. Each year only 5-10% of available cavities attracted breeding birds. The most salient features that emerge from these results are the high density of cavities and their low occupancy rate.

National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
Biologi med ekologisk inriktning
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-3138 (URN)
Available from: 2004-05-07 Created: 2004-05-07 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
2. Enhanced predation rates on cavity bird nests at deciduous forest edges: an experimental study
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Enhanced predation rates on cavity bird nests at deciduous forest edges: an experimental study
1991 (English)In: Ornis Fennica, ISSN 0030-5685, Vol. 68, no 3, p. 93-98Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The size of a forest tract influences the composition of the fauna. If forests become fragmented this will affect the fauna in several ways. One of the main effects is enhanced nest predation. Several studies which confirm this effect have been carried out, but none has used natural cavities. I tested experimentally whether the predation rate was higher in natural tree-holes close to the forest/farmland edge than in the interior of the wood. In a fragmented deciduous forest, fresh Quail eggs were placed in natural cavities at various distances from the edge. The eggs were exposed during a period corresponding in length to the egg and nestling period of a hole-nesting bird. In the beginning of the period, the predation rate was higher close to the edge (< 20 m) than further inside the wood. This result may indicate that a predator first searches the ecotone and afterwards penetrates deeper inside the forest. The results is in accord with earliest observations than nests in natural cavities seem to be less vulnerable than other types of nests.

National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
Biologi med ekologisk inriktning
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-3139 (URN)
Available from: 2004-05-07 Created: 2004-05-07 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
3. Ecological diversity of birds and the quality of urban green space
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Ecological diversity of birds and the quality of urban green space
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
Biology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-3140 (URN)
Available from: 2004-05-07 Created: 2004-05-07 Last updated: 2017-10-18Bibliographically approved
4. Green infrastructure planning in urban Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Green infrastructure planning in urban Sweden
2002 (English)In: Planning practice + research, ISSN 0269-7459, E-ISSN 1360-0583, Vol. 17, no 4, p. 373-385Article in journal (Refereed) Published
National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
Biologi med ekologisk inriktning
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-3141 (URN)10.1080/02697450216356 (DOI)
Available from: 2004-05-07 Created: 2004-05-07 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
5. Urban comprehensive planning: identifying barriers for the maintenance of functional habitat networks
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Urban comprehensive planning: identifying barriers for the maintenance of functional habitat networks
2006 (English)In: Landscape and Urban Planning, ISSN 0169-2046, E-ISSN 1872-6062, Vol. 75, no 1-2, p. 43-57Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Maintaining biodiversity requires a wise combination of protection, management and recreation of habitats to secure representative and functional habitat networks. As urbanisation is increasing worldwide, town and cities are becoming the most common habitat for humankind. Accordingly, the urban landscape is becoming increasingly important for maintaining biodiversity on site, as well as for understanding the concept of biodiversity in general, and its maintenance in urban landscapes.

We evaluated the extent to which Swedish urban planners experience barriers when using comprehensive planning as a tool for the maintenance of biodiversity through the provision of sufficient quantity and quality of green space. All of the six large Swedish cities, having had constant relative population growth since the beginning of the 19th century were chosen as case studies. We first defined a normative model for planning urban biodiversity and operationalised this concept by using landscape ecological principles. Structured in-depth interviews were then carried out with three planners in each city. The respondents were asked about their interest, ability, and knowledge concerning planning for functional networks of green spaces in relation to the normative model.

The in-depth interviews with 18 urban planners indicated that legislation was an important driver for green space planning, that they paid attention to new knowledge concerning recreation values and public health, but that biodiversity maintenance was not a high priority. There was a general agreement that local governments lack necessary resources to plan for biodiversity. A majority of the respondents mentioned geographical information systems (GIS) as an important tool to integrate knowledge about biodiversity in the planning process, and to evaluate likely consequences caused by deviations from current structure plans related to an efficient use of urban green spaces to maintain biodiversity. However, an evaluation of the answers revealed that the respondents had actually overestimated their capacity to implement the normative model. To conclude, the unanimous view was that planners were interested in the maintenance of biodiversity, but were limited by knowledge and by personnel lacking suitable qualifications, as well as by inadequate organisations. Only a minority of the respondents thought that local governments should have resources for biodiversity conservation planning. Finally, we discuss how the implementation of biodiversity policies could be improved by better integration of natural and social sciences in education and policy implementation.

National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
Biology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-3142 (URN)10.1016/j.landurbplan.2004.11.016 (DOI)
Available from: 2004-05-07 Created: 2004-05-07 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved

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