Skip to main content

The importance of urban areas in supporting vulnerable and endangered mammals.

Boakes, Z., Stafford, R., Bramer, I., Cvitanovic, M. and Hardouin, E. A., 2023. The importance of urban areas in supporting vulnerable and endangered mammals. Urban Ecosystems. (In Press)

Full text available as:

s11252-023-01492-z.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.


DOI: 10.1007/s11252-023-01492-z


The fragmentation of habitats associated with urbanisation poses a significant threat to already vulnerable and endangered mammal species. While the county of Dorset has been identified as one of the UK’s biodiversity hotspots, it is characterised by large-scale urbanisation and intensive agriculture. Focusing on the largest urban area of Dorset—the conurbation of Bournemouth, Christchurch, and Poole—this study aims to investigate the importance of urban areas in supporting vulnerable and endangered mammals by comparing it to four other major land cover categories in the county: arable & horticulture, grassland, woodland, and heathland. The study utilises data collected by the county’s environmental records department through mainly volunteer-contributed ad-hoc sighting data of 10 872 georeferenced mammal records collected between 2000 and 2018. Our findings reveal that, despite having significantly different mammal communities to all other land covers, urban land cover was shown to host four out of five of the vulnerable and endangered species recorded in this study. These included the European rabbit (vulnerable on the IUCN red list), hazel dormouse (vulnerable on the UK red list), West European hedgehog (vulnerable on the UK red list) and European water vole (endangered on the UK red list). Our findings highlight the significance of urban areas as important habitats for mammal biodiversity, presenting an opportunity for the conservation of specific vulnerable and endangered species. Despite limitations in ad-hoc sighting data, our analysis indicates an overrepresentation of certain 'charismatic' species, like foxes and hedgehogs, in urban samples, likely due to their high intrinsic value to the population. While the recognition of urban habitats for 'red list' species is growing, it is also important to acknowledge the relative importance of charismatic species to urban human communities in conservation and management strategies.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:mammal biodiversity; urban biodiversity; urban mammals; vulnerable and endangered mammals
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:39300
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:08 Jan 2024 15:40
Last Modified:08 Jan 2024 15:40


Downloads per month over past year

More statistics for this item...
Repository Staff Only -