Publications (FIS)

Determinants of species richness within and across taxonomic groups in urban green spaces

authored by
Sarah A. Matthies, Stefan Rüter, Frank Schaarschmidt, Rüdiger Prasse

Urban green spaces provide habitat for numerous plant and animal species. However, currently we have little knowledge on which determinants drive the species richness within and across taxonomic groups. In this paper we investigate the determinants of total, native, and endangered species richness for vascular plants, birds, and mammals within and across taxonomic groups. We examined a stratified random sample of 32 urban green spaces in Hannover, Germany. Species inventories for plants and birds were generated on the basis of line transect surveys. Mammals were surveyed by means of point counts using camera traps. Using a principal component analysis and multiple regression models, we tested 10 explanatory variables for species-area effects, distance effects, and the effects of habitat structure of green spaces on species richness. When analyzing single explanatory variables, we determined that the species richness of all groups was significantly positively correlated to patch area, number of habitat types, and a short distance to the nearest green space. Testing combined effects of variables showed that patch area in combination with habitat heterogeneity was most important for plants (total, native, and endangered), birds (total and native), and overall species richness. This emphasizes the importance of the species-area effect and the effects of habitat structure on species richness in urban green spaces. We conclude that, in the context of urban planning, it is important to conserve large green spaces that include a high diversity of habitats to maintain high species richness.

Institute of Environmental Planning
Department of Biostatistics
Urban ecosystems
No. of pages
Publication date
Publication status
Peer reviewed
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Ecology, Urban Studies
Sustainable Development Goals
SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
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