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Mammal diversity and metacommunity dynamics in urban green spaces: implications for urban wildlife conservation

Gallo, Travis, Fidino, Mason, Lehrer, Elizabeth W., Magle, Seth B.
Ecological applications 2017 v.27 no.8 pp. 2330-2341
Canis latrans, Odocoileus virginianus, cities, golf courses, green infrastructure, mammals, parks, probability, species diversity, urbanization, wildlife habitats, wildlife management, Illinois
As urban growth expands and natural environments fragment, it is essential to understand the ecological roles fulfilled by urban green spaces. To evaluate how urban green spaces function as wildlife habitat, we estimated mammal diversity and metacommunity dynamics in city parks, cemeteries, golf courses, and natural areas throughout the greater Chicago, Illinois, USA region. We found similar α‐diversity (with the exception of city parks), but remarkably dissimilar communities in different urban green spaces. Additionally, the type of urban green space greatly influenced species colonization and persistence rates. For example, coyotes (Canis latrans) had the highest, but white‐tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) the lowest probability of persistence in golf courses compared to other green space types. Further, most species had a difficult time colonizing city parks even when sites were seemingly available. Our results indicate that urban green spaces contribute different, but collectively important, habitats for maintaining and conserving biodiversity in cities.