Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Plant diversity has ’luxury’ effect, say scientists

27.06.2003


Biodiversity in urban/suburban yards correlates with household income



Biodiversity in urban and suburban yards directly correlates with household income, scientists have found.

Researchers at the National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded Central Arizona-Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) site found higher plant diversity in "upscale" neighborhoods. "The line flattens out, however, at about the $50,000 per year salary mark," said scientist Charles Redman. "When investigating urban systems, we must re-conceptualize biodiversity in terms of human choice, and in terms of how choices are made, and why."


These findings, published in this week’s on-line issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, "are a result of analysis of baseline data gathered in the LTER site’s 200-point survey, a major survey undertaken to measure ecological characteristics of the Central Arizona-Phoenix area, provide a baseline for future monitoring, and give an overview of features such as plant diversity, soil chemistry, and animal distributions," explained NSF’s Henry Gholz, LTER program director.

For the research, the entire study area (some 6,400 square kilometers) was covered with a five-by-five-kilometer grid. Field measurements were done in 30-by-30-meter survey plots, and included identifying all native and exotic plants; mapping the area of surface cover; collecting samples of soils, insects, microbes and pollen; and taking photos from the center of each plot.

Since this survey, which was conducted in the spring of 2000, scientists have monitored bird abundance and diversity, along with human activity, at 40 of the 200-plus sites, four times a year.

The resulting data is intended to provide a comprehensive picture of ecological characteristics of the Phoenix metro area and surrounding agricultural and desert lands, at a single point in time. However, the sites will be resurveyed every five years to monitor how these variables are changing with continued development, according to scientist Diane Hope, director of the field study. "Another use of the data is to compare features such as plant diversity and soil nutrient status in the city, and in the outlying desert," said Hope. "For example, preliminary analyses show that total plant diversity in the desert becomes greater as the elevation of the site increases, but in the city resource abundance (wealth) is the key factor."

Human geographic and socioeconomic variables are important factors in explaining spatial patterns in plant diversity and soil-nutrient status, the scientists found. In general, average plant diversity was similar between desert and urban sites, although the total number of plant genera and the variation in composition from site to site was higher in the urban landscape. Interestingly, said Hope, "median family income, age of residential housing and whether a site has ever been farmed are all correlated with plant diversity. Wealthier, younger neighborhoods and those on sites that have never been cultivated tend to have a greater number of perennial plant types."

In a separate study focusing on parks located in neighborhoods of differing socioeconomic status, bird diversity was also found to be greater in the higher income residential areas.


NSF Program Officer: Henry Gholz, 703-292-8481, hgholz@nsf.gov
Lead Scientist: Diane Hope, diane.hope@asu.edu .

NSF is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering, with an annual budget of nearly $5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 30,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes about 10,000 new funding awards. NSF also awards over $200 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

Receive official NSF news electronically through the e-mail delivery system, NSFnews. To subscribe, send an e-mail message to join-nsfnews@lists.nsf.gov. In the body of the message, type "subscribe nsfnews" and then type your name. (Ex.: "subscribe nsfnews John Smith")

Cheryl Dybas | National Science Foundation
Further information:
http://www.nsf.gov

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Obstructing the ‘inner eye’
07.07.2017 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

nachricht Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Ultrathin device harvests electricity from human motion

24.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Scientists announce the quest for high-index materials

24.07.2017 | Materials Sciences

ADIR Project: Lasers Recover Valuable Materials

24.07.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>