Interspecific competition and small bird diversity in an urbanizing landscape

Kath, Jarrod ORCID: and Maron, Martine and Dunn, Peter K. (2009) Interspecific competition and small bird diversity in an urbanizing landscape. Landscape and Urban Planning, 92 (2). pp. 72-79. ISSN 0169-2046


Throughout eastern Australia, fragmentation and modification of eucalypt woodlands are causing declines in populations of woodland-dependent small passerines. Although agriculture is a major factor in these land use changes, development of peri-urban areas is also driving the simplification of habitat structure through removal of both native and weedy understorey species and the subdivision of remnant habitat. This study investigated the influence of habitat modification and fragmentation on birds in an urbanizing area of south east Queensland, Australia. The influence of spatial factors, such as surrounding vegetation cover, was considered alongside that of site-level habitat factors (vegetation structure) including interspecific competition from the noisy miner (Manorina melanocephala). Spatial factors did not influence the abundance and species richness of small passerines, a group of conservation concern. However, site-level factors, specifically shrub density and interspecific competition from the noisy miner, had a substantial influence on small passerine species richness and abundance. The density of shrubs (which consisted mainly of the introduced weed Lantana camara) had a strong positive relationship with small passerines while the abundance of noisy miners had a strong negative influence. Consequently, protection of vegetation with an intact shrub layer in this developing area is essential for many small birds of conservation significance. Removal of weedy understorey plants should be accompanied by replacement with native shrubs. The results of the study emphasize that factors other than the spatial distribution of vegetation in the landscape need to be considered in order to develop appropriate conservation strategies.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to paper due to publisher copyright restrictions.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - No Department (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - No Department (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Date Deposited: 01 Dec 2011 07:29
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2014 02:02
Uncontrolled Keywords: fragmentation; woodland birds; lantana; noisy miner; habitat modification; urbanization
Fields of Research (2008): 05 Environmental Sciences > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050103 Invasive Species Ecology
05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050211 Wildlife and Habitat Management
06 Biological Sciences > 0602 Ecology > 060207 Population Ecology
Fields of Research (2020): 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4102 Ecological applications > 410202 Biosecurity science and invasive species ecology
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410407 Wildlife and habitat management
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310307 Population ecology
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): D Environment > 96 Environment > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960806 Forest and Woodlands Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity
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