Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

The relationship between landscape features and domestic species on the occupancy of native mammals in urban forests.

Abstract

Landscape features such as roads, hiking trails, and forest edge are prevalent features of urban forests. These features can negatively influence biodiversity through fragmentation and facilitate the penetration of invasive species, particularly predators such as domestic dogs and cats. This study examined how these landscape features affect the distribution of native and domestic mammals and how domestic species affect the occupancy and activity patterns of native mammals. To this end, we conducted camera trap surveys in forested urban and suburban parks in Indiana and Kentucky, USA, to record the presence of native species (deer, raccoons, coyote, and opossums) and non-native predators (domesticated cats and dogs) in relation to distance to nearest roads, hiking trails, and forest edge. We found negative correlations between proximity to roads, hiking trails, and forest edge and the occupancy of the native species with this effect extending up to 300 m. We also found evidence that the presence of dog and cat was negatively correlated with the occupancy for all native species. We recommend park management consider the impact of roads, hiking trails, and forest edge when designing parks and the enforcement of dog leash regulations for the conservation of large mammals in urban parks.