Birds, bird habitat, and vacant lots in north St. Louis, Missouri
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] The neighborhoods of Baden and Wells-Goodfellow have the largest concentration of vacant lots in St. Louis, MO. The Green City Coalition has set forth goals to reduce storm water overflow issues, create wildlife habitat, and increase green stewardship through increased access to nature for local residents. This will increase environmental health and resilience by providing ecologically significant habitat as well as teach the residents about green infrastructure, climate change, and sustainability. Our research aimed to address the following questions: How do the existing patterns of vacant lots in the neighborhood of Baden and Wells-Goodfellow affect bird diversity? How can vacant lot management interventions in St. Louis impact the avian community while also addressing storm water, flooding, and conservation issues? We classified and mapped the land cover types for 847 vacant lots in the two neighborhoods. Three rounds of bird counts were conducted on 50 X 1 ha plots within each neighborhood as well as a visual line transect to assess vegetation structure. European starlings, American robin, northern cardinal, common grackle, and chimney swift were the most abundant species in the neighborhoods. Though mowed lawns made over 50% of the cover type in these neighborhoods, we believe that by creating more meadows and planting trees of various ages, it would create more habitat for a wider range of species.
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