Main content area

Determinants of local extinction and turnover rates in urban bird communities

Husté, Aurélie, Boulinier, Thierry
Ecological applications 2007 v.17 no.1 pp. 168-180
animal communities, biodiversity conservation, birds, breeding, data collection, extinction, habitat fragmentation, habitats, humans, landscapes, migratory behavior, migratory species, probability, sedentary species, species diversity, suburban areas, temporal variation, urban areas, urbanization, wildlife, France
Studying the effects of urbanization on the dynamics of communities has become a priority for biodiversity conservation. The consequences of urbanization are mainly an increased fragmentation of the original landscapes associated with a decrease in the amount of favorable habitats and an increased pressure of human activities on the remaining patches suitable for wildlife. Patterns of bird species richness have been studied at different levels of urbanization, but little is known about the temporal dynamics of animal communities in urban landscapes. In particular, urbanization is expected to have stronger negative effects on migratory breeding bird communities than on sedentary ones, which should lead to different patterns of change in composition. Using an estimation method accounting for heterogeneity in species detection probability and data collected between 2001 and 2003 within a suburban area near the city of Paris, France, we tested whether these communities differ in their local extinction and turnover rates. We considered the potential effects of patch size and distance to Paris' center as a measure of the degree of urbanization around the patches. As expected, local rates of extinction and turnover were higher for migratory than for sedentary species, and they were negatively related to patch size for migratory species. Mean species richness of the sedentary species increased during the study period and their local turnover rate was negatively related to the distance to the urban core, showing a trend to colonize the most urban patches. These results highlight the very dynamic nature of the composition of some local bird communities in fragmented habitats and help to identify factors affecting colonization and extinction.