Strong influence of local habitat structure on mammals reveals mismatch with edge effects models

Villaseñor, Nelida R., Blanchard, Wade, Driscoll, Don A., Gibbons, Philip and Lindenmayer, David B. 2015, Strong influence of local habitat structure on mammals reveals mismatch with edge effects models, Landscape ecology, vol. 30, no. 2, pp. 229-245, doi: 10.1007/s10980-014-0117-9.

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Title Strong influence of local habitat structure on mammals reveals mismatch with edge effects models
Author(s) Villaseñor, Nelida R.
Blanchard, Wade
Driscoll, Don A.ORCID iD for Driscoll, Don A.
Gibbons, Philip
Lindenmayer, David B.
Journal name Landscape ecology
Volume number 30
Issue number 2
Start page 229
End page 245
Total pages 17
Publisher Springer
Place of publication Berlin, Germany
Publication date 2015-02
ISSN 0921-2973
Keyword(s) edge contrast
habitat boundaries
mammal occurrence
residential areas
spatial scale
vertically-oriented camera trapping
Summary Context: What determines mammal occurrence across wildland-urban edges? A better understanding of the variables involved will help update edge effects theory and improve our ability to conserve biota in urbanizing landscapes. Objectives: For the first time, we tested whether the occurrence of mammals across urban-forest edges and forest interiors was best predicted by: (1) edge variables (i.e. edge type and distance to an urban boundary), (2) local habitat structure (e.g. proportion of understory cover), or (3) edge variables after accounting for local habitat structure. Methods: Using 77 camera stations in South-Eastern Australia, we quantified the factors influencing the occurrence of five native mammals (brown antechinus, bush rat, common brushtail possum, black wallaby and long-nosed bandicoot) and three non-native mammals (red fox, cat, and dog). Results: The occurrence of most native and non-native mammals was best predicted by local habitat structure rather than by edge variables. Although edge variables had effects on most species occurrences, local habitat structure outweighed the impacts of edge effects. Conclusions: Our findings are important for management and urban planning as they suggest that local-scale management of habitat and habitat retention at urban edges will mitigate urban impacts on fauna. Our work reveals a critical mismatch in the spatial scale of predictive variables commonly used in edge effects models (edge types and distance to a boundary) compared with the smaller scale of local habitat variables, which underlie most species occurrence. We emphasize the need to consider heterogeneity within patches in predictive frameworks of edge effects.
Language eng
DOI 10.1007/s10980-014-0117-9
Field of Research 050204 Environmental Impact Assessment
050211 Wildlife and Habitat Management
Socio Economic Objective 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2014, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht
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