The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of habitat loss, fragmentation and habitat quality on sedentary forest birds in an urban and suburban environment. The study area was situated in Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, embracing the city centre, suburbs and parts of the rural surroundings. Breeding forest birds were surveyed in 51 forested sample sites (2-700 ha) and five species of resident birds were selected for further studies: willow tit (Parus montanus), crested tit (P. cristatus) and coal tit (P. ater) representing coniferous forest and marsh tit (P. palustris) and nuthatch (Sitta europaea) representing deciduous forest. A spatial landscape analysis was made using a geographical information system (GIS). In 21 of the smaller sites (2-200 ha), a field study was conducted to examine habitat quality parameters like vegetation age, structure and composition, and human-induced disturbance. The probability of occurrence (breeding) of bird species as functions of landscape and habitat descriptors was tested using logistic regression. All investigated species of the Parus guild showed high probabilities of occurrence only in forest patches larger than 200-400 ha, and was not present in patches smaller than 10-30 ha. This meant that patches of presumably suitable habitat (coniferous vs. moist deciduous forest) were left unoccupied. The amount of standing dead and decaying trees provided additional explanation for the distribution of the willow tit. Large areas of urban open land, industrial land use and large bodies of water had a negative influence on the probability of occurrence of several species, which indicate that they were sensitive to isolation. The probability of occurrence of the marsh tit was also influenced by distance to other sample sites with marsh tits. Unlike the Parus species, the nuthatch was breeding in most of the parks and forest remnants. This species prefers mature deciduous forest, mainly oak, which habitat was common in the urban environment. The nuthatch was only absent in some of the smallest (a few ha) forest fragments, with a mean distance between forest patches in the surroundings of over 100 m. The study showed that large forest areas and a high amount of forest in the landscape are important for the investigated resident birds that are not adapted to the urban environment. Vast areas without tree-cover seemed to be poor habitat and/or restrict dispersal. Strips of high-quality habitats, including standing trees with nest-holes, were not entirely absent in the urban and suburban environment.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Andrén, H. 1997. Population response to landscape changes depends on specialization to different landscape elements. Oikos 80: 193–196.
Angelstam, P. 1992. Conservation of communities-the importance of edges and surroundings in man-dominated landscapes. In: L. Hansson (ed). Ecological principles of nature conservation. Elsevier, Barking.
Beissinger, S.R. and Osborne, D.R. 1982. Effects of urbanization on avian community organization. Condor 84: 75–83.
Bolger, D.T., Scott, T.A. and Rotenberry, J.T. 1997. Breeding bird abundance in an urbanizing landscape in coastal Southern California. Cons. Biol. 11: 406–421.
Clergeau, P., Savard, J-P.L., Mennechez, G. and Falardeau, G. 1998. Bird abundance and diversity along an urban-rural gradient: a comparative study between two cities on different continents. Condor 100: 413–425.
DeGraaf, R.M. 1991. Winter foraging guild structure and habitat associations in suburban bird communities. Landsc. Urban Plan 21: 173–180.
Enoksson, B., Angelstam, P. and Larsson, K. 1995. Deciduous forest and resident birds: the problem of fragmentation within a coniferous forest landscape. Landsc. Ecol. 10: 267–275.
Esseen, P.-A., Ehnström, B., Ericson, L. And Sjöberg, K. 1997. Boreal forests. Ecol. Bull. 46: 16–47.
Fahrig, L. 1997. Relative effects of habitat loss and fragmentation on population extinction. J. Wildl. Manage. 61: 603–610.
Farina, A. 1997. Landscape structure and breeding bird distribution in a sub-Mediterranean agro-ecosystem. Landsc. Ecol. 12: 365–378.
Gilbert, O.L. 1989. The Ecology of Urban Habitats. Chapman & Hall, London, UK.
Hagan, J.M., van der Haegen, W.M. and McKinley, P.S. 1996. The early development of forest fragmentation effects on birds. Cons. Biol. 10: 188–202.
Hanski, I. 1998. Connecting the parameters of local extinction and metapopulation dynamics. OIKOS 83: 390–396.
Hansson, L., Fahrig. L. and Merriam, G. (eds). 1995. Mosaic landscapes and ecological processes. Chapman and Hall, London, UK.
Hargis, C.D., Bissonette, J.A. and David, J.L. 1998. The behavior of landscape metrics commonly used in the study of habitat fragmentation. Landsc. Ecol. 13: 167–186.
Helle, P. 1984. Observations on some taiga forest birds with respect to forest fragmentation. Ornis Fennica 61: 121–122.
Helle, P. and Järvinen, O. 1986. Population trends of north Finnish land birds in relation to their habitat selection and changes in forest structure. Oikos 46: 107–115.
Hinsley, S.A., Bellamy, P.E., Newton, I. and Sparks, T.H. 1996. Influences of population size and woodland area on bird species distribution in small woods. Oecologia 105: 100–106.
Jokimäki, J. and Huhta, E.. 1996. Effects of landscape matrix and habitat structure on a bird community in northern Finland. Ornis Fennica 73:97–113.
Jokimäki, J. and Suhonen, J. 1998. Distribution and habitat selection of wintering birds in urban environments. Landscape and Urban Planning 39: 253–263.
Koskimies, P. 1989. Distribution and numbers of Finnish breeding birds. Appendix to Suomen Lintuatlas. Lintutieto Oy. Helsinki.
Lens, L. 1996.Wind stress affects foraging site competition between Crested Tits and Willow Tits. OIKOS 27: 41-46.
McDonnell, M.J., Pickett, S.T.A.; Groffman, P., Bohlen, P., Pouyat, R.V., Zipperer, W.C., Parmelee, R.W., Carreiro, M.M. and Medley, K. (1997). Ecosystem processes along an urban-to-rural gradient. Urban Ecosystems 1: 21–36.
McGarigal, K. and Marks, B.J. 1995. FRAGSTATS: Spatial pattern analysis program for quantifying landscape structure. U.S. Forest Service General Technical Report PNW 351, Portland, OR, USA.
Mörtberg, U.M. 1996. Biologisk mångfald i Stockholms grönstruktur-Fåglar. Inledande landskapsekologisk studie. [Biodiversity in the green areas of Stockholm-Birds. A landscape ecological perspective]. Licentiate thesis. Div. of Land and Water Resources, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm. [In Swedish].
Mörtberg, U.M. 1998. Bird species diversity in urban forest remnants: landscape pattern and habitat quality. pp. 239–244. In: R.W. Dover and R.G.H. Bunce (eds). Key concepts in landscape ecology. Proceedings of the 1998 European Congress of the International Association for Landscape Ecology, 3rd-5th September 1998, Myers Cough, UK.
Municipality of Sollentuna. 1991. Environmental Protection Plan. Municipality of Sollentuna, Stockholm. [In Swedish].
National Landsurvey of Sweden. 1991. The Green Map, T5-version. Gävle, Sweden.
Nilsson, S.G. 1997. Forests in the temperate-boreal transition: natural and man-made features. Ecol. Bull. 46: 61–71.
Opdam, P. 1997. LANDECONET: The Study of Biodiversity in Changing Landscapes. Department of Landscape Ecology, DLO-institute for Forestry and Nature Research Wageningen, The Netherlands. Http://www.nmw.ac.uk/ite/econet/contents.html.
Opdam, P., Foppen, R. Reijnen, M. and Schotman, A. 1995. The landscape ecological approach in bird conservation: integrating the metapopulation concept into spatial planning. IBIS 137, suppl. 1: 139–146.
Reijnen, R., Foppen, R. and Veenbaas, G. 1997. Disturbance by traffic of breeding birds: evaluation of the effect and considerations in planning and managing road corridors. Biodiv. Cons. 6: 567–581.
Sauvajot, R.M., Buechner, M., Kamradt, D.A. and Shonewald, C.M. 1998. Patterns of human disturbance and response by small mammals and birds in chaparral near urban development. Urban Ecosystems 2: 279–297.
Sjögren-Gulve, P. and Ray, C. 1996. Using logistic regression to model metapopulation dynamics: large-scale forestry extirpates the pool frog. In: D.R. McCullough (ed.), Metapopulations and Wildlife Conservation & Management. Island Press, Washington DC, USA.
Swedish Environmental Protection Agency. 1984. Biologiska Inventerings-Normer, Fåglar. Stockholm, Sweden. [In Swedish].
Swetnam, R.D., Ragou, P., Firbank, L.G., Hinsley, S.A. and Bellamy, P.E. 1998. Applying ecological models to altered landscapes scenario-testing with GIS. Landscape and Urban Planning 41: 3–18.
Tilghman, N.S. 1987. Characteristics of urban woodlands affecting breeding bird diversity and abundance. Landscape and Urban Planning 14: 481–495.
Van der Zande, A.N., Berkhuizen, J.C., van Latesteijn, H.C., Keurs, W.J. and Poppelaars, A.J. 1984. Impact of outdoor recreation on the density of a number of breeding bird species in woods adjacent to urban residential areas. Biol. Cons. 30: 1–39.
Van Dorp, D. and Opdam, P.F.M. 1987. Effects of patch size, isolation and regional abundance on forest bird communities. Landsc. Ecol. 1: 59–73.
Villard, M-A., Trzcinski, M.K. and Merriam, G. 1999. Fragmentation effects on forest birds: relative influence of woodland cover and configuration on landscape occupancy. Cons. Biol. 13: 774–783.
Walbridge, M.R. 1997. Urban ecosystems. Urban Ecosystems 1: 1–2.
Wiens, J.A. 1994. Habitat fragmentation: island versus landscape perspectives on bird conservation. Ibis 137: 97–104.
With, K.A., Gardner, R.H. and Turner, M.G. 1997. Landscape connectivity and population distributions in heterogeneous environments. Oikos 78:151–169.
About this article
Cite this article
Mörtberg, U.M. Resident bird species in urban forest remnants; landscape and habitat perspectives. Landscape Ecology 16, 193–203 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1011190902041
- Resident forest birds
- landscape pattern
- habitat quality