Habitat fragmentation and implications for management : an investigation into the landscape ecology of native forest fragments on Banks Peninsula, with reference to the implications of habitat fragmentation for the conservation management of forest-dwelling native birds
The aim of this research was to investigate the nature in which the spatial configuration of the fragmented native forest influences the distribution of native forest birds of Banks Peninsula, South Island, New Zealand. The data on which this research was based was a previous survey of the flora and fauna of Banks Peninsula (undertaken as part of the Protected Natural Areas Programme). For this research, a Geographic Information System (GIS) was used to store and analyse primary data on the location of bird observations and on the spatial configuration of the forest fragments. An evaluation of GIS as a tool in such research was included in this research. The configuration of the forest fragments on Banks Peninsula were spatially analysed to quantify the pattern in terms of dimensions, shape and isolation. Maps were produced to illustrate the location of observations of each native bird species, and the proportion of observations within the fragments was calculated. The dispersion of the observations was analysed to determine the level of aggregation. The relationship between the location of bird observations and the configuration of the fragments was analysed. Relationships between the location of bird observations and the plant species richness and community type of the forest fragments were identified. The level of coexistence between the native bird species was estimated. The nature and extent of the population-level and community-level effects of habitat fragmentation were estimated from the results obtained and also from previous research in other fragmented biological communities. The effect of habitat fragmentation on the structure of the populations of native birds was estimated. The results indicated that some species had developed a population structure with features similar to that of a classic metapopulation, whereas other species had a patchy population structure. Suggested management strategies include changes in the configuration of the fragments and habitat improvement. The species-specific response to habitat fragmentation would influence the precise nature of management strategies recommended. A critique of the research identified limitations of the investigative approach, the primary data and the analytical methods used. It was concluded that GIS proved to be an effective method of storing and analysing the data involved and presenting the results of the research.... [Show full abstract]
Keywordshabitat fragmentation; forest fragmentation; avifauna; conservation; Banks Peninsula; New Zealand; native birds; habitat modification; habitat management; forest conservation
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