Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 17, 2022

Rare plants attract rare bees and birds in urban gardens

From the National Science Foundation

Study reveals how biodiversity in community gardens is affected by gardener demographics

Little is known about what drives rare biodiversity in cities. Rare plant species in urban gardens may be the answer. The plants in turn attract rare bee and bird species, according to a Dartmouth College-led study looking at urban gardens in northern California.

The U.S. National Science Foundation-supported results, published in Ecological Applications, show that women, older gardeners, and those who live near the gardens tend to curate more rare plants. “There appears to be a cascading effect of people planting uncommon species on the accumulation of other uncommon bee and bird species,” says lead author Theresa Ong.

More than 50% of the plants observed in the urban gardens were rare. “People are planting a great variety of uncommon plants,” says Ong. “What we found is that what is rare in an urban garden can be quite common elsewhere and is not necessarily how we would define rarity in less managed systems. In less managed systems, rare species are often those at greatest risk of extinction.”

Read more at Rare plants attract rare bees and birds in urban gardens

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