A few more entries in the UBC Celebrate Research Week series remain. Lindsay introduces Dr. Mooney:
Dr. Patrick Mooney is a Professor in the Landscape Architecture program in UBC’s School of Architecture + Landscape Architecture at UBC where he teaches sustainable landscape planning and management, ecological restoration, design studio and planting design. Dr. Mooney consults to developers, environmental groups, the B.C. Ministry of Environment, regional parks and city governments on habitat management and restoration. Dr. Mooney designed and supervised the installation of Maplewood Flats, a constructed wetland on the Burrard Inlet. The mud-flats that previously existed on that site were filled for a port facility that was never built and is now a Provincial Wildlife Management Area operated by the Wild Bird Trust (WBT) of BC. Since its installation, the WBT has recorded an increase in bird diversity from 208 bird species prior to 1995 to 231 in 2004.
Dr. Mooney writes:
Maintaining biodiversity in urban regions (PDF) requires the implementation of conservation actions that are informed by local knowledge. To meet this need, I’ve developed general biodiversity models that may be used to select candidate conservation areas, to enhance habitat in urban disturbed sites, to increase site level biodiversity and to guide ecological restoration for wildlife habitat.
The plant associations of three conservation areas on Burrard Inlet in the Metro Vancouver region were inventoried and mapped as habitat types (figure 1 — the map)
The 62 species of birds that were found to use the sites on an annual basis were grouped according to their foraging guilds. The guilds are coded A through L in the second figure. It was found that that certain habitats support more species than others and some habitats support a high proportion of certain guilds.
Since most species use multiple habitats, a cluster analysis was conducted to determine which groups of habitats supported the most bird species. Three habitat assemblages – Deciduous Forest / Mixed Forest / Park; Shorezone / Old Field / Meadow and Old Field / Salt Marsh / Freshwater Marsh were found to contain the primary use habitats of the majority bird species found on the study sites (see Figure 2). All other possible habitat assemblages contained the primary habitats of three or fewer species.
Habitat Assemblage 1: Deciduous Forest / Mixed Forest / Park
Eleven species of birds from guild A, the gleaners, utilize this habitat assemblage for both primary and secondary habitat. This assemblage contains the primary and secondary habitat for 21 species. 13 of these species were found only within this habitat assemblage. These are black-throated gray warbler, brown creeper, chestnut-backed chickadee, evening grosbeak, orange-crowned warbler, Pacific-slope flycatcher, downy woodpecker, pileated woodpecker, bushtit, Cooper’s hawk, cedar waxwing, Steller’s jay and purple finch.
Habitat Assemblage 2: Shorezone / Old Field / Meadow
The habitat assemblage of shorezone/old field/meadow contains the primary and secondary habitat for 16 species or 25.8% of the 62 species in this analysis. This assemblage is notable in that primary and secondary use habitat for three of the four species in guild C, the probers, are captured by this assemblage. These are killdeer, solitary sandpiper, and spotted sandpiper. The exception in guild C is the sora rail which was found only in the freshwater marsh habitat type.
Habitat Assemblage 3: Old Field / Salt Marsh / Freshwater Marsh
This assemblage contained primary and secondary habitats for five species. Two species are particular to this habitat assemblage. The wood duck was found in both the freshwater and saltwater wetlands, while the sora rail occurred in only the freshwater marsh habitat.