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Citation.Chapman, K.A.; Reich, P.B. 2007. Land use and habitat gradients determine bird community diversity and abundance in suburban, rural and reserve landscapes of Minnesota, USA. BIOLOGICAL CONSERVATION 135:527-541.
Abstract. Bird species’ community responses to land use in the suburbanizing Twin Cities, Minnesota,
USA, were contrasted among reserves, rural lands, and suburbs. For each land use
type, bird composition, diversity, and abundance were recorded for 2 years in _99 plots
in three sampling units (each _4500 ha). A habitat gradient defined by canopy structure
(grasslands to savannas to forests) was influenced by land use, so _300 plots were used
to characterize simultaneous variation in bird communities along land use and habitat gradients.
At broad scales (aggregate of 33 plots covering _4500 ha) suburbs supported the
lowest bird richness and diversity and rural landscapes the most, with reserves slightly
below rural. Although reserves were like rural lands in diversity of bird communities, they
supported more species of conservation concern, particularly of grasslands and savannas.
Differences among land use types varied with habitat structure. Suburbs, rural lands, and
reserves had similar forest bird communities, but differed in grassland and savanna bird
communities. The extensive rural forests are important for the region’s forest birds. Suburban
grasslands and savannas had low shrub abundance, low native bird richness and high
non-native bird richness and abundance. However, total bird richness and diversity were as
high in suburban as in rural and reserve plots because high native richness in suburban forests
and high non-native species richness in suburban grasslands and savannas compensated
for lower native richness in suburban grasslands and savannas. Bird conservation
here and in the Midwest USA should protect rural forests, expand grasslands and savannas
in reserves, and improve habitat quality overall.