Influence of Plant Richness and Urban Garden Structure On Bird Species Richness Diversity and Composition
Student: Yair Paker
Advisors: Prof. Yoram Yom-Tov, Prof. Anat Barnea and Dr. Tal Alon-Mozes
This research aims to study the influence of plant species' richness and urban public gardens' spatial structure on bird species' abundance, diversity and community structure. The types of gardens selected for the research included thickets, in which a few tree species grow, gardens that contain lawns and different trees and shrub species, and gardens that resemble native thicket in which many trees and shrubs species grow. Observations were conducted once a month during winter and summer, and twice a month during spring and autumn migration, from January 2008 until May 2009. Bird species' richness was evaluated using the rarefaction curves method, and species diversity was calculated using the Shannon index.
The connection between the environmental variables and bird community structure was found to be significant. The research determines that open lawn areas were attractive to a few bird species, while the boundary of lawn and shrubs or trees was appealing to many. It is possible that small insectivorous birds that forage in open lawn need the shrubs and trees for cover. Information collected in this study can be used by urban landscape planners, in order to create gardens that would be appealing to many bird species.