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    Author(s): Marcela Suarez-Rubio; John R. Thomlinson
    Date: 2009
    Source: Biological Conservation. 142: 1311-1321.
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: International Institute of Tropical Forestry
    PDF: View PDF  (430.43 KB)


    As human population continues to increase and intensification of human land use escalates, it is important to address the role of urban forest patches in supporting bird communities. We related bird species richness and community assemblage to landscape- and patch- level factors in 40 forest patches in the densely populated metropolitan area of San Juan, Puerto Rico. In total, 54 bird species were observed including 26 resident, 10 endemic, 12 migratory, and 6 introduced species. Patch size, level of urbanization in the surrounding matrix, and vertical heterogeneity of forest patches were the most important variables in explaining species richness. Patch size had the highest predictive power in explaining species richness for all groups except migrants, which were best predicted by patch-level factors (vegetation heterogeneity). The degree of matrix urbanization was correlated negatively with endemic species richness, but positively with introduced species. Endemic species were particularly sensitive to landscape factors (patch size, matrix urbanization, and canopy texture). Introduced species richness was not dependent on any patch-level factors. Eight species were relatively unaffected by urbanization, whereas two species were only found in large forest patches, and two species were sensitive to urban development. Seven species demonstrated a preference for small patches. Recommendations for land managers and conservation agencies to maintain a high bird species richness and diversity include: (1) preserve both large and small forest patches, (2) limit urban development near forest patches, (3) manage forest patch structure to maintain vertical heterogeneity, and (4) maintain forest patches with different vegetation types.

    Publication Notes

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    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Suarez-Rubio, Marcela; Thomlinson, John R. 2009. Landscape and patch-level factors influence bird communities in an urbanized tropical island. Biological Conservation. 142: 1311-1321.


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    Avifauna, Development, Matrix, Species richness, Vertical complexity

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