Cities are hotspots for threatened species

Ives, C, Lentini, P, Threlfall, C, Ikin, K, Shanahan, D, Garrard, G, Bekessy, S, Fuller, R, Mumaw, L, Rayner, L, Rowe, R, Valentine, L and Kendal, D 2016, 'Cities are hotspots for threatened species', Global Ecology and Biogeography, vol. 25, no. 1, pp. 117-126.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

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Title Cities are hotspots for threatened species
Author(s) Ives, C
Lentini, P
Threlfall, C
Ikin, K
Shanahan, D
Garrard, G
Bekessy, S
Fuller, R
Mumaw, L
Rayner, L
Rowe, R
Valentine, L
Kendal, D
Year 2016
Journal name Global Ecology and Biogeography
Volume number 25
Issue number 1
Start page 117
End page 126
Total pages 10
Publisher Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Abstract Aim Although urbanization impacts many species, there is little information on the patterns of occurrences of threatened species in urban relative to non‐urban areas. By assessing the extent of the distribution of threatened species across all Australian cities, we aim to investigate the currently under‐utilized opportunity that cities present for national biodiversity conservation. Location Australian mainland, Tasmania and offshore islands. Methods Distributions of Australia's 1643 legally protected terrestrial species (hereafter ‘threatened species’) were compiled. We assessed the extent to which they overlapped with 99 cities (of more than 10,000 people), with all non‐urban areas, and with simulated ‘dummy’ cities which covered the same area and bioregion as the true cities but were non‐urban. We analysed differences between animals and plants, and examined variability within these groups using species accumulation modelling. Threatened species richness of true versus dummy cities was analysed using generalized linear mixed‐effects models. Results Australian cities support substantially more nationally threatened animal and plant species than all other non‐urban areas on a unit‐area basis. Thirty per cent of threatened species were found to occur in cities. Distribution patterns differed between plants and animals: individual threatened plant species were generally found in fewer cities than threatened animal species, yet plants were more likely to have a greater proportion of their distribution in urban areas than animals. Individual cities tended to contain unique suites of threatened species, especially threatened plants. The analysis of true versus dummy cities demonstrated that, even after accounting for factors such as net primary productivity and distance to the coast, cities still consistently supported a greater number of threatened species. Main conclusions This research highlights that Australian cities are important for the conservation of threatened species, and that the species assemblages of individual cities are relatively distinct. National conservation policy should recognize that cities play an integral role when planning for and managing threatened species.
Subject Conservation and Biodiversity
Land Use and Environmental Planning
Keyword(s) Australia
Biodiversity
Conservation policy
Species distributions
Threatened species
Urbanization
DOI - identifier 10.1111/geb.12404
Copyright notice © 2015 John Wiley and Sons Ltd
ISSN 1466-822X
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