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Article

Niche Analysis and Conservation of Bird Species Using Urban Core Areas

1
Department of Forest and Natural Environment Sciences, International Hellenic University, 66100 Drama, Greece
2
Arctic Centre, University of Lapland, 96101 Rovaniemi, Finland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Richard A. Loyn
Sustainability 2021, 13(11), 6327; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13116327
Received: 25 April 2021 / Revised: 30 May 2021 / Accepted: 1 June 2021 / Published: 2 June 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wildlife Conservation: Managing Resources for a Sustainable World)
Knowing the ecological requirements of bird species is essential for their successful conservation. We studied the niche characteristics of birds in managed small-sized green spaces in the urban core areas of southern (Kavala, Greece) and northern Europe (Rovaniemi, Finland), during the breeding season, based on a set of 16 environmental variables and using Outlying Mean Index, a multivariate ordination technique. Overall, 26 bird species in Kavala and 15 in Rovaniemi were recorded in more than 5% of the green spaces and were used in detailed analyses. In both areas, bird species occupied different niches of varying marginality and breadth, indicating varying responses to urban environmental conditions. Birds showed high specialization in niche position, with 12 species in Kavala (46.2%) and six species in Rovaniemi (40.0%) having marginal niches. Niche breadth was narrower in Rovaniemi than in Kavala. Species in both communities were more strongly associated either with large green spaces located further away from the city center and having a high vegetation cover (urban adapters; e.g., Common Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs), European Greenfinch (Chloris chloris), Eurasian Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)) or with green spaces located closer to the city center and having high gray area cover and anthropogenic disturbance level (urban exploiters; e.g., Western Jackdaw (Corvus monedula), House Sparrow (Passer domesticus), Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica)). The eleven species that were common to both study areas similarly used the environmental variables and had similar niches, indicating that birds respond similarly to urbanization irrespective of latitude. Sixteen species in Kavala and eleven species in Rovaniemi were identified as conservation priority species, based on their niche specialization level and conservation status. The management actions proposed for the conservation of priority species will also benefit other species with similar ecological requirements and ultimately help maintain diverse bird communities in small-sized green spaces in urban core areas. View Full-Text
Keywords: generalists; specialists; niche breadth; marginality; urban core areas; small green spaces; Mediterranean; Fennoscandia generalists; specialists; niche breadth; marginality; urban core areas; small green spaces; Mediterranean; Fennoscandia
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MDPI and ACS Style

Liordos, V.; Jokimäki, J.; Kaisanlahti-Jokimäki, M.-L.; Valsamidis, E.; Kontsiotis, V.J. Niche Analysis and Conservation of Bird Species Using Urban Core Areas. Sustainability 2021, 13, 6327. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13116327

AMA Style

Liordos V, Jokimäki J, Kaisanlahti-Jokimäki M-L, Valsamidis E, Kontsiotis VJ. Niche Analysis and Conservation of Bird Species Using Urban Core Areas. Sustainability. 2021; 13(11):6327. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13116327

Chicago/Turabian Style

Liordos, Vasilios, Jukka Jokimäki, Marja-Liisa Kaisanlahti-Jokimäki, Evangelos Valsamidis, and Vasileios J. Kontsiotis. 2021. "Niche Analysis and Conservation of Bird Species Using Urban Core Areas" Sustainability 13, no. 11: 6327. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13116327

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