Navigation Links
Global survey of urban birds and plants find more diversity than expected
Date:3/11/2014

AMHERST, Mass. The largest analysis to date of the effect of urbanization on bird and plant species diversity worldwide confirms that while human influences such as land cover are more important drivers of species diversity in cities than geography or climate, many cities retain high numbers of native species and are far from barren environments.

Urban ecologist Paige Warren of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, co-leader of a 24-member research working group at the University of California Santa Barbara's National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS), and colleagues reported their findings recently in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

"We were able to build the largest database to date from the largest number of cities, more than 140 on every continent except Antarctica," Warren says. "So it's a more global survey than past studies, which have focused mainly on North America and Europe. For the first time, we were able to include cities in South America, in the tropics and in developing countries. This gives us more confidence in our generalizations about what is going on."

"Looking at what drives the number of species found, we see that human factors are more influential than region or where the city is located, for example," she adds. The researchers wrote, "Not surprisingly, greater proportions of intact vegetation in cities, as found in older cities, preserve plant species. These results highlight the importance of including remnant vegetation and restoring natural areas in the design of cities."

Thus, the study underlines the value of urban green space as refuges for native species and migrating birds, Warren says. Conserving green spaces, restoring native plant species and adding habitats that promote biodiversity in cities can support more bird and plant species.

Working group members compiled the global dataset for birds in 54 cities and for plants in 110 cities. The majority of urban bird and plant species they found are native, they write, and cities even support populations of 36 threatened bird and 65 threatened plant species.

But across the study, cities supported about 92 percent fewer bird species and 75 percent fewer native plant species than expected for similar undeveloped lands, a "substantial decline" that is best explained by human-built features such as land cover and city age. The working group found that cities with more natural habitats support more bird and plant species and experience fewer species losses as the city grows.

The most common "cosmopolitan" bird species, occurring in more than 80 percent of cities, were the rock pigeon, house sparrow, starling and barn swallow. Among plants, 11 species including annual meadow grass occur in more than 90 percent of cities.

One of Warren's co-leaders and the paper's lead author, Myla F.J. Aronson of Rutgers, points out that "while urbanization has caused cities to lose large numbers of plants and animals, the good news is that cities still retain endemic native species, which opens the door for new policies on regional and global biodiversity conservation."

Networking since 2010, the researchers recently received a five-year National Science Foundation grant to fund a global network called UrBioNet to support urban biodiversity research and practice. Among other goals, they hope to expand databases to include more cities with rapid urban growth and less available data in such places as Africa, South America and Southeast Asia, and to develop recommendations for monitoring biodiversity in urban areas.


'/>"/>

Contact: Janet Lathrop
jlathrop@admin.umass.edu
413-545-0444
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Ocean food web is key in the global carbon cycle
2. Birds of all feathers and global flu diversity
3. Zoonotic diseases and global viral pandemics
4. U of M study finds fertilization destabilizes global grassland ecosystems
5. Maps show expected redistribution of global species due to climate change
6. Pacific trade winds stall global surface warming -- for now
7. Global regulator of mRNA editing found
8. Biomarker for stress hormones in polar bears, wildlife affected by global climate change
9. Study says sharks/rays globally overfished
10. Global warmings biggest offenders
11. Global Bioinformatics Market 2013 - 2017
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Global survey of urban birds and plants find more diversity than expected
(Date:3/21/2016)... -- Unique technology combines v ...   Xura, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... communications services, today announced it is working alongside SpeechPro ... particularly those in the Financial Services Sector, the ability ... a mobile app, alongside, and in combination with, traditional ...
(Date:3/15/2016)... 15, 2016 Yissum Research Development Company ... company of the Hebrew University, announced today the formation ... technology of various human biological indicators. Neteera Technologies has ... from private investors. ... detection of electromagnetic emissions from sweat ducts, enables reliable ...
(Date:3/11/2016)... , March 11, 2016 ... new market research report "Image Recognition Market by Technology ... (Marketing and Advertising), by Deployment Type (On-Premises and Cloud), ... To 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the global market is ... to USD 29.98 Billion by 2020, at a CAGR ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/26/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 26, 2016 , ... ... manufacturing company, today announced several positive developments that position the Company for the ... result of the transaction, Craig F. Kinghorn has been appointed Chairman of the ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Founder of the Fitzmaurice Hand Institute in ... of the hand by the National Board of Physicians and Surgeons, as of ... in his pursuit of providing the most comprehensive, effective treatment for his patients, ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... Biohaven Pharmaceutical Holding Company Ltd. ... the company’s orphan drug designation request covering BHV-4157 for the treatment of Spinocerebellar ... FDA. , Spinocerebellar ataxia is a rare, debilitating neurodegenerative disorder that is ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... ... ... need for blood donations in South Texas and across the nation is growing. , But ... blood donations are on the decline. In fact, donations across the country are at their ... Texas in the last four years alone. , There is no substitute for blood. , ...
Breaking Biology Technology: