Diverse vegetation in a spa town supports human social benefits of urban birds
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.
KeywordsUrban vegetation Green infrastructure Biocultural diversity Spa town Human perception
We are grateful to P. Šmilauer for statistic consulting. This work was supported by University of South Bohemia (GAJU 04-146/2013/P). We also thank to M. Agnoletti and two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments.
Compliance with ethical standards
Authors hereby state that they do not have any potential conflicts of interest (financial or non-financial). All human participants undertaking the questionnaire research confirmed the informed consent with the procedure of the research.
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