Urban green and blue space in Cork city and its importance to bird diversity

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Lambert, Luke
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University College Cork
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Urban green and blue spaces are well known for providing ecosystem services in built up areas but they are also becoming increasingly important as these spaces are becoming unique ecosystems for bird diversity. The aims of this study was to investigate the importance of green and blue space in Cork City to bird diversity, through the generation of a satellite image that captures the landscape configuration of Cork City and green and blue space it contains, examine the relationships between bird diversity (richness and abundance) and landscape metrics generated using FRAGSATS and by conducting field surveys. The impact of spatial scales and how they affect species-landscape relationships was also investigated through regression analysis. Using Sentinel-2 satellite data and a maximum likelihood classification, a comprehensive landcover map of Cork City was produced with reliable accuracy. The map revealed that two thirds of the city is composed of green and blue space. The field surveys recorded 62 species in the city. The statistical analysis gathered revealed that green space was the main driver in increasing species richness and abundance, while blue space produced mixed results. The edge effect phenomenon was also found to play a key role in increasing bird diversity. The regression models produced results that revealed a diversified and varied landscape was preferable to bird diversity as the scale was increased. The impact of scale also affected how important blue space is as a connective network within the city. Overall, this study has demonstrated that urban green and blue space is intrinsically linked to bird diversity in Cork City. 40% of the species that were recorded in the field surveys are listed as species of conservation concern in Ireland, with five of these species listed on the Red list. This finding has shown how urban spaces can provide habitats for vulnerable species, and provides precedence for implementing conservation initiatives within urban areas.
FRAGSTATS , Sentinel-2 , Bird diversity , Green space , Blue space , Landscape metrics , Regression models , Edge effect , Urban landscapes , Connectivity
Lambert, L. 2019. Urban green and blue space in Cork city and its importance to bird diversity. MRes Thesis, University College Cork.