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Do Indigenous Street Trees Promote More Biodiversity than Alien Ones? Evidence Using Mistletoes and Birds in South Africa

Department of Environmental Science, Rhodes University, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa
Academic Editors: Francisco Escobedo, Stephen John Livesley and Justin Morgenroth
Forests 2016, 7(7), 134;
Received: 19 April 2016 / Revised: 23 June 2016 / Accepted: 29 June 2016 / Published: 13 July 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban and Periurban Forest Diversity and Ecosystem Services)
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Trees in urban landscapes provide a range of ecosystem services, including habitat, refugia, food, and corridors for other fauna and flora. However, there is some debate whether the richness and abundance of other biodiversity supported is influenced by the provenance of trees, i.e., native or non-native. This study assessed the presence of mistletoes and birds (and nests) in 1261 street trees. There were marked differences between native and non-native street trees, with the former having a significantly higher prevalence of birds (and nests) and supporting more species and in greater densities, whilst the latter supported a higher prevalence of mistletoes. Additionally, for birds, the proximity to green space, tree size and species were also important, whilst for mistletoes, the proximity to green space, slope aspect, and tree species were significant. Preference ratios indicated that some tree species had a higher than random occurrence of birds or mistletoes, whilst others had a low abundance. The indigenous tree species, Acacia karroo Hayne was the only reasonably abundant street tree species that was important for birds, nests, and mistletoes. At the street scale, there was a positive relationship between street tree species richness and bird species richness. These results emphasise the importance of selecting appropriate tree species if biodiversity conservation is a core outcome. View Full-Text
Keywords: biodiversity; connectivity; preference ratio; street trees; tree size; urban biodiversity; connectivity; preference ratio; street trees; tree size; urban

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Shackleton, C. Do Indigenous Street Trees Promote More Biodiversity than Alien Ones? Evidence Using Mistletoes and Birds in South Africa. Forests 2016, 7, 134.

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