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Building for Birds: An Online Tool to Evaluate How Different Development Designs Impact Forest Bird Habitat

February 06, 2017 |

This article was originally published on The Nature of Cities

“Building for Birds”, a design tool, allows decision-makers to manipulate amounts of forest fragments and tree canopy to determine the best designs for conserving bird habitat.

“Often, city forest fragments and tree canopies are overlooked by city planners and developers as important bird habitat. More often than not, people only regard large patches as beneficial. The message from conservationists is that we want to avoid fragmentation and to conserve large forested areas. While this goal is important, the message tends to negate any thoughts by developers and city planners towards conserving individual mature trees and small forest fragments.

To design around individual trees and small forest fragments, it takes a good deal of planning and, in some cases, extra costs. Roads have to be realigned, homes on lots have to be sited to protect trees, and a considerable amount of construction management has to be implemented to prevent earthwork machines from damaging conserved trees and forest areas. From an engineering/construction perspective, it is sometimes easier to wipe out all vegetation and start from scratch. The tool described in this essay helps city decision-makers evaluate how different development designs benefit or do not benefit different bird species.

Empirical studies have demonstrated that small forest fragments and trees in residential areas can provide good breeding, stopover, and wintering habitat for a variety of birds. There is value in these small forest fragments and individual trees for many different species of forest birds. But how to evaluate which conservation designs impact which species of birds?…”

Read on at: The Nature of Cities.

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