Urban open spaces from a dispersal perspective: lessons from an individual-based model approach to assess the effects of landscape patterns on the viability of wildlife populations

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Abstract

Green areas drawn on a city plan represent open spaces that have different meanings for humans and wildlife. Diverse kinds of green may influence species viability in urban environments. It is necessary to understand what those areas mean for wildlife populations and how land-use changes affect habitats and movements for making scientifically defensible planning and design decisions. My objective was to demonstrate how open space and urban development patterns affect the viability of wildlife populations in urbanizing landscapes from a movements perspective. Eight scenarios for 2060 for an urbanizing area near Portland, Oregon combined four open space (none, corridors, parks, and network) with two urban development patterns (compact and dispersed). Dispersal model HexSim simulated three target species – Red-legged frog (Rana aurora aurora), Western meadowlark (Sturnella neclecta) and Douglas squirrel (Tamasciurus douglasii) – movements on those scenarios to compare and contrast sustained populations to the ca. 2010 baseline landscape. Network scenarios presented the largest number of frog breeders. Greenway scenarios showed the largest populations of squirrels. Park and network scenarios sustained viable populations of meadowlarks, but park scenarios performed best. Compact development scenarios performed best for most indicators, while dispersed development scenarios performed better for meadowlarks. Network scenarios performed best when considering the collective of species. Networks presented more diverse habitats, sustaining higher diversity of species. For plans to sustain more species, more comprehensive and diverse habitats must be promoted, otherwise trade-offs should be expected – like the extinction of meadowlarks in greenway scenarios.
Original languageEnglish
JournalUrban Ecosystems
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Nov 2020

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