Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 23, Issue 11, pp 2875–2901 | Cite as

Moth species richness, abundance and diversity in fragmented urban woodlands: implications for conservation and management strategies

  • Paul R. Lintott
  • Nils Bunnefeld
  • Elisa Fuentes-Montemayor
  • Jeroen Minderman
  • Lorna M. Blackmore
  • Dave Goulson
  • Kirsty J. Park
Original Paper


Urban expansion threatens global biodiversity through the destruction of natural and semi-natural habitats and increased levels of disturbance. Whilst woodlands in urban areas may reduce the impact of urbanisation on biodiversity, they are often subject to under or over-management and consist of small, fragmented patches which may be isolated. Effective management strategies for urban woodland require an understanding of the ecology and habitat requirements of all relevant taxa. Yet, little is known of how invertebrate, and in particular moth, assemblages utilise urban woodland despite being commonly found within the urban landscape. Here we show that the abundance, species richness, and species diversity of moth assemblages found within urban woodlands are determined by woodland vegetation character, patch configuration and the surrounding landscape. In general, mature broadleaved woodlands supported the highest abundance and diversity of moths. Large compact woodlands with proportionally less edge exposed to the surrounding matrix were associated with higher moth abundance than small complex woodlands. Woodland vegetation characteristics were more important than the surrounding landscape, suggesting that management at a local scale to ensure provision of good quality habitat may be relatively more important for moth populations than improving habitat connectivity across the urban matrix. Our results show that the planting of broadleaved woodlands, retaining mature trees and minimising woodland fragmentation will be beneficial for moth assemblages.


Urban ecology Habitat fragmentation Habitat loss Landscape Lepidoptera Urbanisation 



We would like thank Rebekah Mayhew, Lena Olley, Catherine Gibson-Poole and the numerous volunteers who helped with the data collection. We would like to offer special thanks to Keith Bland (National Museum of Scotland) for identifying micromoth species and Robert Dawson for macromoth identification. We also thank Keith Summerville, Thomas Merckx and one anonymous reviewer for their valuable comments on the manuscript. This project was supported by the People’s Trust for Endangered Species and Nuffield Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul R. Lintott
    • 1
  • Nils Bunnefeld
    • 1
  • Elisa Fuentes-Montemayor
    • 1
  • Jeroen Minderman
    • 1
  • Lorna M. Blackmore
    • 1
  • Dave Goulson
    • 2
  • Kirsty J. Park
    • 1
  1. 1.Biological and Environmental Sciences, School of Natural SciencesUniversity of StirlingStirlingUK
  2. 2.School of Life SciencesUniversity of SussexBrightonUK

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