Urban landscape organization is associated with species-specific traits in European birds

Juan Diego Ibáñez-Álamo, Lucía Izquierdo, Emeline Mourocq, Yanina Benedetti, Marja-Liisa Kaisanlahti-Jokimäki, Jukka Jokimäki, Federico Morelli, Enrique Rubio, Tomás Pérez-Contreras, Philipp Sprau, Jukka Suhonen, Piotr Tryjanowski, Mario Díaz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Urbanization is one of the main current drivers of the global biodiversity loss. Cities are usually developed in a gradient between land-sharing (low density housing with small and fragmented green areas) and land-sparing areas (high density housing with large and non-fragmented green patches) depending on the spatial organization of urban attributes. Previous studies have indicated differences in biodiversity between these two urban development types, but mechanisms underlying these differences are inadequately understood. In this context, the landscape features of each urban development type may select for organisms with specific traits. To analyze it, we quantified birds in 9 European cities during the breeding and wintering season, collected species-specific traits and performed Bayesian comparative analyses. We found that birds living in land-sparing areas had a higher reproductive investment and a higher nesting specialization than birds living in land-sharing areas during the breeding season. Typical birds from land-sparing urban areas during winter are fast-lived species. Our results indicate that urban development type could have an important role selecting animal traits and provides useful information on how to build more biodiversity-friendly cities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number167937
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
Journal Science of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2023
MoEC publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Field of science

  • Ecology, evolutionary biology
  • Social and economic geography


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