Diverse vegetation in a spa town supports human social benefits of urban birds


Tomáš Kučera, Petra Kloubcová, Petr Veselý

DOI: 10.1007/s10531-015-0974-9


The urban–rural gradient effect, together with the value of urban green patches, on saving bird diversity has received significant research in recent years. These topics are usually studied in the context of big cities, where the effects are more pronounced. In the present study, we observed how these phenomena affect the avicoenoses in smaller spa town, where landscape protection supports the benefits of biocultural diversity. We assessed the effect of the occurrence of microhabitats (especially particular tree and shrub forms) within the urban–rural gradient on bird fauna composition. We found that the urban–rural gradient in towns is not as relevant as in cities because the effect is covered with a more complicated multi-layered vegetation structure. For the management practices we confirm the high importance of vegetation continuity from the periphery to the city centre, bypassing the isolation of green patches. A proportion of deciduous and coniferous trees and their spatial heterogeneity are important for the occurrence of small songbirds. Next, we conducted a questionnaire-based study with the park visitors and found that there is a biocultural benefit from the presence of songbirds in large urban parks, especially in the spa town. The clear preference of songbirds by park visitors highlights the social benefit of bird diversity.

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