The Value of Urban Trees in Promoting Bird Diversity

A world first study explicitly demonstrates that large trees in urban parks are “keystone structures” that help provide important habitat and contribute to the richness, abundance and breeding of birds, reports Megan Doherty.

The study undertaken by Australian National University PhD candidate Karen Stagoll found that the safety risk posed by larger older trees in urban areas such as neighbourhood parks should be managed by "strategies other than tree removal" because of their importance in promoting bird diversity. The report warns that "the loss of large trees from urban settings may have far-reaching ecological consequences". The study looked at 3,300 eucalypt trees in more than 100 neighbourhood parks in Canberra, Australia and found 44 species of birds across theses areas, most of them native.

In urban areas, management policies "often cause trees to be felled or extensively pruned before they reach their full biological potential, thereby limiting their value to wildlife". The study recommends that any risk posed by large trees should be managed by measures other than removal, such as fencing and landscaping, for example by putting shrubs instead of grass under trees to keep people away.

Thanks to Karen Wright

Full Story: Large urban trees require strategy to avoid felling: study

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