Tag Archives: urban cemetery

New paper published!

Trait composition and functional diversity of spiders and carabids in linear landscape elements has been published in Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment.

Authors Schirmel J, Thiele J, Entling MH & Buchholz S

Abstract Agricultural intensification is a cause of global biodiversity decline. Seminatural linear landscape elements (LLE) within agricultural landscapes can considerably mitigate these declines, but their effects on functional properties of biodiversity are poorly known. We analyzed trait composition and functional diversity (functional dispersion) of spiders and carabids in woody and herbaceous LLE. We expected that species assemblages of woody LLE are more diverse and K-selected compared to herbaceous LLE, and that effects of environmental parameters vary between LLE types. We selected 58 LLE in an agricultural landscape in Northwest Germany. We sampled carabids and spiders by pitfall trapping and measured landscape connectivity, landscape-wide land-use diversity, local land-use diversity, and local plant richness as explanatory variables. westphaliaThe trait composition of arthropods in woody LLE was more K-selected (lower dispersal ability, a higher food specialization or trophic level) than in herbaceous LLE. Moreover, spider functional diversity was higher in woody LLE. Spider functional diversity and proportion of predatory carabids in woody LLE increased with increasing connectivity of the habitats. In contrast, in herbaceous LLE local plant richness and landscape-wide land-use diversity were most important drivers for spider and carabid diversity and traits. Our results show that species richness and functional diversity of spiders and carabids were differently affected by landscape and local factors. Therefore, the importance of landscape connectivity was higher in woody LLE, suggesting that their inhabitants are more sensitive to habitat fragmentation than the highly mobile generalist species living in herbaceous habitats.

New paper on urban biodiversity

Biodiversity functions of urban cemeteries: evidence from one of the largest Jewish cemeteries in Europe has been accepted for publication in Urban Forestry & Urban Greening.

Authors Kowarik I, Buchholz S, von der Lippe M & Seitz B

Abstract As the world becomes more urbanized, urban cemeteries may become increasingly valuable for biodiversity conservation as cemeteries are ubiquitous elements of the green infrastructure in cities worldwide. By implementing a multi-taxon approach at different spatial extents, we analyzed habitat functions of a large urban cemetery in Berlin (Weißensee Jewish Cemetery) and explored related environmental variables. This cemetery is an outstanding cultural heritage site but it also stands for old urban cemeteries that have progressed to urban woodland, an ecosystem type that exists in many regional and religious contexts. The cemetery provided a habitat for 604 species; species of conservation concern comprised 1.6–100% of total species among different groups of taxa (in decreasing order: bats, birds, lichens, bryophytes, carabids, vascular plants, spiders). Species richness and species composition at the plot level were significantly related to differences in management intensity and resulting vegetation structures but differed among taxonomic groups. In vascular plants, carabids and spiders, the species composition varied significantly with habitat age, and there was a set of characteristic species for different age classes in each species group. Our results thus support the use of differentiated management approaches to maintain habitat heterogeneity by allowing wilderness development in some parts of a cemetery while keeping others more open. Since these aims can be combined with efforts to preserve outstanding grave architectures and allow access to visitors, our study indicates ways of reconciling conflicting aims of heritage preservation and biodiversity conservation, a promising perspective for biodiversity conservation in culturally shaped urban landscapes. We conclude that cemeteries provide important cultural ecosystem services within the urban green infrastructure.

New paper on urban biodiversity

Biological richness of a large urban cemetery in Berlin. Results of a multi-taxon approach has been published in the Biodiversity Data Journal.

Urban green spaces can harbor a considerable species richness of plants and animals. A few studies on single species groups indicate important habitat functions of cemeteries, but this land use type is clearly understudied compared to parks. Such data are important as they (i) illustrate habitat functions of a specific, but ubiquitous urban land-use type and (ii)
may serve as a basis for management approaches. We sampled different groups of plants and animals in the Weißensee Jewish Cemetery in Berlin (WJC) which is one of the largest Jewish cemeteries in Europe. With a total of 608 species of plants and animals, this first multi-taxon survey revealed a considerable biological richness in the WJC. In all, 363 wild-growing vascular plant, 72 lichen and 26 bryophyte taxa were recorded. The sampling also yielded 34 bird and 5 bat species as well as 39 ground beetle, 5 harvestman and 64 spider species. Some species are new records for Berlin.

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