Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Assessing the impact of revegetation and weed control on urban sensitive bird species.

Abstract

Nature in cities is concentrated in urban green spaces, which are key areas for urban biodiversity and also important areas to connect people with nature. To conserve urban biodiversity within these natural refugia, habitat restoration such as weed control and revegetation is often implemented. These actions are expected to benefit biodiversity, although species known to be affected by urbanization may not be interacting with restoration in the ways we anticipate. In this study, we use a case study to explore how urban restoration activities impact different bird species. Birds were grouped into urban sensitivity categories and species abundance, and richness was then calculated using a hierarchical species community model for individual species responses, with "urban class" used as the hierarchical parameter. We highlight variable responses of birds to revegetation and weed control based on their level of urban sensitivity. Revegetation of open grassy areas delivers significant bird conservation outcomes, but the effects of weed control are neutral or in some cases negative. Specifically, the species most reliant on remnant vegetation in cities seem to remain stable or decline in abundance in areas with weed control, which we suspect is the result of a simplification of the understorey. The literature reports mixed benefits of weed control between taxa and between locations. We recommend, in our case study site, that weed control be implemented in concert with replanting of native vegetation to provide the understory structure preferred by urban sensitive birds. Understanding the impacts of revegetation and weed control on different bird species is important information for practitioners to make restoration decisions about the allocation of funds for conservation action. This new knowledge can be used both for threatened species and invasive species management.