Urban sprawl and fragmentation of natural habitats are outstanding threats on biodiversity and ecological integrity of natural areas. KuÅŸadasi (Turkey) is a significant town in terms of nearby National Park of Dilek Peninsula-Great Menderes Delta which has a rich biodiversity and with surrounding areas in their natural conditions. Also KuÅŸadasi is a popular tourism destination and it is one of the most rapidly growing urban areas in the district. Therefore it is important to minimize the disturbance to the surrounding ecological structure while this growth is occurring. The main goals of this study are: (a) To identify natural plant species that can be utilized as ornamental plants in KuÅŸadasi Municipality area; (b) To evaluate existence of the natural plant species that are found in some randomly selected urban areas and (c) To make recommendations for KuÅŸadasi to have a well-planned growth which will protect and contribute to the integrity of the surrounding ecology. Three different analyses were performed with randomly selected land cover types to determine vegetation structure: (a) Pervious surface cover, (b) Native woody plants and (c) Structural diversity. The data collected was used to create a habitat value index. The highest three values were found to be agricultural lands (43.2%), graded vacant land (40.2%) and parks (37.4%). On the other hand, the lowest values were found to be streets (20.3%) and ring roads (26.3%).
Key words: Native plants, ecologic integrity, planning strategies, urban ecology, KuÅŸadasi.
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