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Logo: Institut für Umweltplanung/Leibniz Universität Hannover
Logo Leibniz Universität Hannover
Logo: Institut für Umweltplanung/Leibniz Universität Hannover
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Cities, nature and life between them: the dynamics of human and natural ecosystems and the interrelationships between them

Leitung:Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Prasse, Dr. Stefan Rüter
Bearbeitung:Dipl.-Ing. Sarah Matthies
Laufzeit:Januar 2011 - Dezember 2014
Förderung durch:Niedersächsisches Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kultur (Niedersächsisches Vorab)

Recent studies showed that green spaces in cities (e.g. parks, allotments, cemeteries) provide habitat to numerous species and may fulfill basic nature conservation functions. In this project we investigated main factors driving the species richness within urban green spaces in Hannover, Germany. We especially focused on the effects of patch size and distance to the urban edge, but also investigated effects of other patch metrics, habitat heterogeneity and connectivity of urban green spaces. The relevance of these measurements was investigated for vascular plants, mammals, and birds.

Our results showed that patch size as well as the number and diversity of habitats within urban green spaces were of overriding importance for total, native, and endangered plant species richness, as well as total and native bird species richness. An analysis across all the investigated taxonomic groups underlined the importance of patch size and habitat heterogeneity. We conclude that, in the context of urban ecological planning, it is important to conserve large green spaces that include a high diversity of habitats to maintain high species richness.

The joint Lower Saxony - Israel research project was carried out by the Institute of Environmental Planning, Leibniz University Hannover and the Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. In addition, the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies and The Golan Research Institute, University of Haifa, participated in the study. This joint research project was financially supported by the state of Lower Saxony, Hannover, Germany (VWZN2631).

Please refer to the following publications for further information:

  • Matthies, S., Rüter, S., Schaarschmidt, F. & Prasse, R. Determinants of species richness within and across selected taxonomic groups in urban green spaces. (in preparation)
  • Matthies, S., Rüter, S., Prasse, R. & Schaarschmidt, F. (2015). Factors driving the vascular plant species richness in urban green spaces: Using a multivariable approach. Landscape and Urban Planning 134: 177-187.
  • Matthies, S., Kopel, D., Rüter, S., Toger, M., Prasse, R., Czamanski, D. & Malkinson, D. (2013). Vascular plant species richness patterns in urban environments – Case studies from Hannover, Germany and Haifa, Israel. In Malkinson, D.; Czamanski, D. and Benenson, I., (eds.) Modeling of Land-Use and Ecological Dynamics. Cities and Nature, Springer, 107-119.
  • Matthies, S., Rüter, S. & Prasse, R. (2013). Urban green spaces – the effects of patch size and distance to the urban edge on vascular plant and bird species diversity. University of Salford Institutional Repository, eprint 29490.
  • Matthies, S. (2013). Freiflächen in der Stadt – Auswirkungen von Flächengröße und Distanz zum Stadtrand auf die Artenvielfalt. BfN-Skripten 335: 101-106.

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