Are corridors corridors?

Dallimer, M., Rouquette, J.R., Skinner, A.M.J., Armsworth, P.R., Maltby, L.M., Warren, P.H. & Gaston, K.J. 2012. Contrasting patterns in species richness of birds, butterflies and plants along riparian corridors in an urban landscape. Diversity and Distributions 18, 742-753.

Urbanization is a major driver of global landuse change, substantially modifying patterns of biodiversity. Managing these impacts has become a conservation priority. The creation and maintenance of greenways, such as river corridors, is frequently promoted as a strategy for mitigating habitat fragmentation in urban areas by bringing semi-natural habitat cover into city centres. However, there is little evidence to support this assertion. Here, we examine whether riparian zones maintain semi-natural habitat cover in urban areas and how species richness varies along such zones. We find that multiple transects and taxonomic groups are required to describe species richness responses to urbanization as no single pattern is evident. Although riparian zones are an important component of the mosaic of urban habitats, we find that river corridors do not disproportionately support tree and natural surface cover when compared to non-riverine urban areas.