Importance and Potential Areas of Urban Landscapes for Biodiversity Conservation in Tropics; Case Study in Sri Lanka
University Of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
Introduction: What conservation problem or question does your study address?
Although urbanization is arguably one of the most dramatic land transformation factors and profoundly influencing the biodiversity, urban landscapes support a diverse array of ecosystems. Importance of this organization goes unnoticed although these biotic factors balance the integrity of the environment. Understanding this association is the key to conserve them and practice eco-friendly urban planning.
Methods: What were the main research methods you used?
Different levels of sensitivity of reptiles to habitat change make reptiles a uniquely important group of animals in urban biodiversity studies. Study was carried out in rapidly developing city in Sri Lanka: Kandy. Species richness and the differences in the species assemblages of reptiles in different urban landscapes were examined using multiple sampling techniques and multivariate and correlation analysis tools. Three transects of 3000 × 100 m were laid following a gradient starting from the city centre through to the suburbs in three different directions radiating from the city centre. Species richness variation and population changes were observed along the gradient as a factor of distance from the city centre. Infrastructure and the structure of the city was also studied to discern any existing relationships with the reptile biodiversity changes.
Results: What are your most important results?
Most of the areas harbor a considerable number of reptile species. The reptile diversity followed a certain pattern along the city gradient and the abundance of some city dwelling species noticeably declined along the gradient. Results of the study showed that forest dependent species and city dwelling species inhabit certain areas of urban structures favorably varying along the gradient highlighting potential landscapes for conservation.
Discussion: What are your important discussion points and what is the relevance of your results to conservation (if any)?
In this era novel approaches are needed to conserve biodiversity in a non-traditional yet effective ways. Although neglected, urban landscapes harbor a significant biodiversity. Results of the study illuminates the equal importance of urban landscapes as natural habitats in regards to conservation. Study is very useful to determine the important areas of an urban environment for biodiversity conservation to preserve nature for sustainable development.