Biodiv Sci ›› 2023, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (3): 22161.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2022161

• Original Papers: Animal Diversity • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The impact of urbanization on regional bird distribution and habitat connectivity in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area

Qiongyue Zhang1, Zhuodi Deng2, Xuebin Hu3, Zhifeng Ding1, Rongbo Xiao4, Chen Xiu5, Zhenghao Wu1,6, Guang Wang7, Donghui Han7, Yuke Zhang8, Jianchao Liang1,*(), Huijian Hu1,*()   

  1. 1 Guangdong Key Laboratory of Animal Conservation and Resource Utilization/Guangdong Public Laboratory of Wild Animal Conservation and Utilization, Institute of Zoology, Guangdong Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510260
    2 College of Coastal Agricultural Sciences, Guangdong Ocean University, Zhanjiang, Guangdong 524088
    3 Guangzhou Water Ecological Construction Center, Guangzhou 510055
    4 Guangdong University of Technology, Guangzhou 510006
    5 College of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Zhongkai University of Agriculture and Engineering, Guangzhou 510225
    6 South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510650
    7 South China Institute of Environmental Science, Ministry of Ecology and Environment, Guangzhou 510535
    8 Third Institute of Oceanography, Ministry of Natural Resources, Xiamen, Fujian 361005
  • Received:2022-10-28 Accepted:2022-12-16 Online:2023-03-20 Published:2023-03-20
  • Contact: Jianchao Liang,Huijian Hu
  • About author:First author contact:

    #Co-first authors


Aim: Rapid economic development and urban expansion have caused dramatic changes in land use in Guangdong- Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GHMGBA), resulting in the urgent need to study their effects on the distributions and habitat connectivity of birds in this area.

Method: Based on 15 environmental variables, we used the maximum entropy (MaxEnt) model to predict the habitats of 82 bird species in GHMGBA in 2000 and 2015, and then analyzed the changes in bird distribution patterns and habitat connectivity under urbanization using an equivalent connected area index (ECA).

Results: From 2000 to 2015, areas of forest, water, and farmland decreased by 3.22%, 0.97%, and 23.19% respectively, while grassland, buildings, and other area types (bare land and mudflat) increased by 33.95%, 80.34%, and 453.52% respectively. The distributions of 30 forest or farmland dwelling species decreased, and the distributions of 52 common urban species and waterbirds increased. The distributions of birds were closely related to the type of land use. In addition, habitat connectivity showed a trend consistent with the distribution area. Analysis results of the four species with the largest changes in distributions showed that: the distributions and habitat connectivity of Surniculus lugubris and Yuhina castaniceps decreased with urbanization (i.e., changes in land use types, vegetation coverages, the distances to water and disturbances etc.); whereas the distributions and habitat connectivity of Bubulcus ibis and Ardea cinerea increased with urbanization. Furthermore, the increased area of habitat patches significantly improved the connectivity of habitats.

Expectation: It is recommended to assess the changes of habitat quality as urban expansion occurs throughout GHMGBA, and to use these assessment results to build ecological corridors and biodiversity protection networks for birds to maintain the safety and stability of the regional ecosystem.

Key words: connectivity, MaxEnt model, bird distribution, habitat patch, land use change, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area