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Moth species richness, abundance and diversity in fragmented urban woodlands: implications for conservation and management strategies

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P.R. Lintott, N. Bunnefeld, E. Fuentes-Montemayor, J. Minderman, L.M. Blackmore, D. Goulson, K.J. Park

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Urban expansion threatens global biodiversity through the destruction of natural and semi-natural habitats and increased levels of disturbance. Whilst woodlands in urban areas may reduce the impact of urbanisation on biodiversity, they are often subject to under or over-management and consist of small, fragmented patches which may be isolated. Effective management strategies for urban woodland require an understanding of the ecology and habitat requirements of all relevant taxa. Yet, little is known of how invertebrate, and in particular moth, assemblages utilise urban woodland despite being commonly found within the urban landscape. Here we show that the abundance, species richness, and species diversity of moth assemblages found within urban woodlands are determined by woodland vegetation character, patch configuration and the surrounding landscape. In general, mature broadleaved woodlands supported the highest abundance and diversity of moths. Large compact woodlands with proportionally less edge exposed to the surrounding matrix were associated with higher moth abundance than small complex woodlands. Woodland vegetation characteristics were more important than the surrounding landscape, suggesting that management at a local scale to ensure provision of good quality habitat may be relatively more important for moth populations than improving habitat connectivity across the urban matrix. Our results show that the planting of broadleaved woodlands, retaining mature trees and minimising woodland fragmentation will be beneficial for moth assemblages.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2875-2901
Number of pages27
JournalBiodiversity and Conservation
Issue number11
Early online date20 Jul 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2014

    Research areas

  • Urban ecology, Habitat fragmentation, Habitat loss, Landscape, Lepidoptera, Urbanisation

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