Birding the ‘burbs

Birding the 'burbs graphic

Assessing the impact of urbanisation on biodiversity in Adelaide

Currently, just over half of the world’s population live in urban places, but this is expected to increase to two thirds by the year 2050. One outcome of rapid urbanisation is a decline in biodiversity as urban landscapes become less natural. This project is looking at the relationship between urban development and biodiversity, something we need to understand to inform better planning and development.

The research

The project involves modelling the distributions of birds across Adelaide and using this model to predict the impacts of future development (e.g. low-density or high-density housing). This information will be useful for planners and developers to assess and plan new developments. The main stages of the project are:

  • Site selection (2015-May 2016) COMPLETED: SEE MAP BELOW
  • First collection of bird data (May/June, 2016) COMPLETED
  • Recruitment of bird data collectors COMPLETED
  • Second collection of bird data (18th February – 3rd March 2017) COMPLETED
  • Third collection of bird data (22nd April – 7th May 2017) COMPLETED
  • Fourth collection of bird data (9th September – 24th September 2017)  COMPLETED
  • DATA ANALYSIS – we are currently analysing the data – around 20,000 bird observations from 165 sites, plus numerous environmental, climatic and land-use variables!
  • Reporting of results to all stakeholders (Late 2018)
Like to see the results?

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Site Map

The 165 sites for this study were selected randomly. We utilised a stratification process based on seven classes of human population density (low to high), plus additional classes to account for specific urban characteristics that could influence bird distributions (coastal areas, recreation parks, conservation parks and agricultural areas). We then randomly selected 15 replicate sites for each class of site (you can see the study sites on the map below). You can click on each site for further location details. If the map does not load on this page, you can view it on its own webpage (click here).