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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

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

Soultan, Alaaeldin; Attum, Omar; Lahue, Wade


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.


Occupancy; Native species; Carnivores; Urban biodiversity; Domestic dogs and cats

Published in

Urban Ecosystems
2021, volume: 24, number: 6, pages: 1117-1128
Publisher: SPRINGER

Authors' information

Soultan, Alaaeldin
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology
Attum, Omar
Indiana University Southeast
Lahue, Wade
Indiana University Southeast

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG11 Sustainable cities and communities

UKÄ Subject classification

Landscape Architecture
Forest Science

Publication Identifiers


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