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 The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

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: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>