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Research article2010Peer reviewed

The application of vegetation structure information in biotope mapping models towards urban biodiversity

Qiu L, Gao T, Zhang S

Abstract

Former models of biotope mapping have not taken enough information about temporal and spatial vegetation structure into consideration. It is shown in a number of studies that vegetation structure has an impact on aspects of biodiversity. The purpose of this study is thus to design a modified urban biotope mapping model that includes temporal and spatial vegetation structure in order to obtain more information concerning urban biodiversity. A refined model was developed based on a biotope classification, and applied to a green structure system in Helsingborg in southern Sweden. It includes four parameters of vegetation structure: continuity of vegetation cover, age of dominant trees, horizontal structure, and vertical structure. The major green structure sites were determined by interpretation of panchromatic aerial photographs assisted with a field survey. A set of biotope maps was constructed on the basis of each level of modified classification. By means of identifying continuity of woodland using ancient woodland indicator species (AWIS), and distribution of animals in the green space in relation to vegetation structure, the results indicate that some biotopes with a number of AWI species are long-continuity woodlands with high or potentially high biodiversity value, and that the spatial vegetation structure and age of stands influence the richness and abundance of the avian fauna and rabbits. It is concluded that the modified biotope mapping involving both temporal and spatial vegetation structures is an important methodology when investigating.

Published in

Acta Ecologica Sinica
2010, Volume: 30, number: 14, pages: 3688-3699