Navigation Links
Ecologists use 70-year-old pressed plants to chart city's vanishing native flora
Date:3/17/2011

More than half of the world's population now lives in cities, yet we know little about how urbanization affects biodiversity. In one the first studies of its kind, ecologists in Indianapolis, USA have used 70 year-old dried plant specimens to track the impact of increasing urbanization on plants. The results are published this week in the British Ecological Society's Journal of Ecology.

Lead by Dr Rebecca Dolan, director of the Friesner Herbarium, Butler University, the team examined 2,800 dried plants collected around Indianapolis before 1940 and compared these with plants they and their students found at 16 field sites between 1996 and 2006.

They discovered that increasing urbanization has wrought major changes to Indianapolis's plant species. Although the city supports a similar number of plant species around 700 today's flora has fewer native plants and more non-native species, which have been introduced from other parts of the world and are now spreading on their own.

The study found that over the past 70 years, Indianapolis's native plants have been lost at a rate of 2.4 species per year, while over the same period 1.4 non-natives arrive each year. According to Dolan: "This study shows that our flora is becoming less distinctive."

Plants now lost to Indianapolis include Queen-of-the-prairie (Filipendula rubra), a member of the rose family with fantastic wands of pink flowers. It was last found growing in a damp spot by the Water Canal at 52nd Street in July 1935. Another loss is the Virginia bunchflower (Melanthium virginicum), a member of the lily family with striking stalks of white flowers.

Arrivals include the invasive Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) and Amur bush honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii). "Japanese knotweed was brought to our area as an ornamental. It spreads readily by seed and by root sprouts, forming thickets that choke out native species," says Dolan.

"Amur bush honeysuckle was once promoted by the USDA's Soil Conservation Service for erosion control and wildlife food, but we now know it does neither. Instead, it has spread and become a pest plant, covering the banks of many of the city's streams and woodland edges, and land managers spend a lot of money eradicating it."

The study has important lessons for cities, biodiversity and the potential dangers posed by non-native species.

Because so many of us now live in cities, urban floras are becoming increasingly important. According to Dolan: "As cities continue to grow, urban green spaces are becoming important refuges for native biodiversity and for people. In coming decades, most people's contact with nature will be in urban settings, so the social importance of urban plants has never been greater."

"A clear message for the future is to be careful when planting non-native material, especially in great numbers, due to the likelihood of introduced non-native plants becoming pests," she says.


'/>"/>

Contact: Becky Allen
beckyallen@ntlworld.com
44-122-357-0016
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Ecologists get fish eye view of sexual signals
2. Ecologists find new clues on climate change in 150-year-old pressed plants
3. Ecologists to discuss impacts of mountaintop mining at special ESA symposium
4. Ecologists receive mixed news from fossil record
5. Nations largest organization of ecologists offers expert database
6. Ecologists discover forests are growing faster
7. Ecologists sound out new solution for monitoring cryptic species
8. The value of variation: Ecologists consider the causes and consequences
9. Ecologists question effects of climate change on infectious diseases
10. Ecologists report quantifiable measures of natures services to humans
11. Ecologists use oceanographic data to predict future climate change
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/24/2017)... WASHINGTON , April 24, 2017 ... counsel and partner with  Identity Strategy Partners, LLP ... "With or without President Trump,s March 6, ... Foreign Terrorist Entry , refugee vetting can be instilled ... refugee resettlement. (Right now, all refugee applications are ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... York , April 19, 2017 ... as its vendor landscape is marked by the presence ... market is however held by five major players - ... Together these companies accounted for nearly 61% of the ... the leading companies in the global military biometrics market ...
(Date:4/18/2017)... Inc., a global expert in SoC-based imaging and computing solutions, has ... features the company,s hybrid codec technology. A demonstration utilizing TeraFaces ® ... be showcased during the upcoming Medtec Japan at Tokyo Big Sight ... Las Vegas Convention Center April 24-27. ... Click here for an image of the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/27/2017)... ... April 27, 2017 , ... ... mass flow controllers based on capillary thermal mass flow technology provide exponentially more ... control applications. Over 80% of all industrial processes—such as those involving chemical ...
(Date:4/27/2017)... ... April 27, 2017 , ... ... joined other scientists, researchers, engineers, and industry professionals in visiting U.S. Congressional offices ... to compete in the world photonics industry. , This year, National Photonics ...
(Date:4/27/2017)... April 27, 2017  Pendant Biosciences, Inc. (formerly Nanoferix, ... modification and drug delivery technologies, today announced that it ... @ Toronto . ... Pendant Biosciences, noted, "We are excited to become part ... community, and are honored to be the first ...
(Date:4/26/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... April 26, 2017 , ... ... Lajollacooks4u, San Diego’s premiere team-building and cooking events company, offers one-of-a-kind gifts, ranging ... , Menus specialize in California cuisine, and guests leave inspired with new cooking ...
Breaking Biology Technology: