Title

Urbanization effects on watershed habitat potential: a multivariate assessment of thresholds and interactions

Publication Date

2009

Journal or Book Title

ECOHYDROLOGY

Abstract

A watershed-based assessment is used to assess the effect of urbanization on vertebrate habitat potential in Westfield River Watershed in Massachusetts, USA. A spatial analysis is used to develop urban indicators and habitat potential for each subbasin in the watershed. It is observed that threshold effect of urbanization on habitat potential of vertebrates is at 10 to 12 percent impervious cover. Amphibian habitat is influenced by available open space and land use disturbance in the watershed. The reptile habitat is sensitive to impervious coverage and land use disturbance, and decreased with fragmentation. The habitat for birds is influenced by land use disturbance, human population densities, size of forest patch, and open space in the watershed. Mammal habitat is influenced by human population density, land use disturbance, and fragmentation. A watershed-based assessment is useful to identify critical areas of high urban influence. Threshold values and nature of interactions between urbanization and habitat are assessed and used in policy recommendations. Policies and practices that minimize effects of urbanization in the watershed include impervious taxes, zoning policies, and open space protection. The need for provision of education and information on the relationship between urbanization and habitat potential is emphasized for sustainable use of watershed resources.

DOI

10.1002/eco.43

Volume

2

Issue

1

Pages

88-101

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