Bird community patterns in response to the island features of urban woodlots in eastern China
- Cite this article as:
- Chen, S., Ding, P., Zheng, G. et al. Front. Biol. China (2006) 1: 448. doi:10.1007/s11515-006-0061-4
Many studies have demonstrated the changes in the spatial patterns of plant and animal communities with respect to habitat fragmentation. Insular communities tend to exhibit some special patterns in connection with the characteristics of island habitats. In this paper, the relationships between richness, assemblage, and abundance of bird communities with respect to island features were analyzed in 20 urban woodlots in Hangzhou, China. Field investigations of bird communities, using the line transect method, were conducted from January to December, 1997. Each woodlot was surveyed 16 times during the year. Results indicated that bird richness was higher, per unit area, in the smaller woodlots than the larger ones, and overall bird density decreased with the increase in the size of woodlot. However, the evenness of species abundance increased with the area, and small woodlots were usually dominated by higher density species and large woodlots by medium density species. Most species occurring in the small woodlots also occurred in larger woodlots. Also, bird communities among urban woodlots showed a nestedness pattern in assemblage. These patterns implied that the main impacts of woodland habitat fragmentation are: (1) species are constricted and thus species number will increase at a given sample size; (2) as surface area decreases, the proportion of forest edge species as to interior species will increase; (3) community abundance will therefore increase per unit area but most individuals will be from a few dominant species; and (4) overall species diversity will decrease at a habitat level as well as at a region level. These patterns of community in response to the island features were therefore summarized as “island effects in community”. The underlying processes of such observations were also examined in this paper. Woodlot area, edge ratio, isolation, and habitat nestedness were considered as the important factors forming the island effects in community. High heterogeneity between habitats usually contributed most to the maintenance of regional biodiversity, especially in urban woodlots.