Linking yard plant diversity to homeowners’ landscaping priorities across the U.S

Josep Padullés Cubino, Meghan L. Avolio, Megan M. Wheeler, Kelli L. Larson, Sarah E. Hobbie, Jeannine Cavender-Bares, Sharon J. Hall, Kristen C. Nelson, Tara L.E. Trammell, Christopher Neill, Diane E. Pataki, J. Morgan Grove, Peter M. Groffman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Residential yards contribute to human well-being and urban biodiversity. The structure, diversity, and composition of yard floras are largely determined by personal choices and landscaping priorities at local scales, but it is unclear whether these relationships hold across broader geographical areas. We investigated the relationship between homeowners’ criteria for vegetation and yard management choices, ecosystem-service based traits, and yard plant diversity (i.e., taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional) in 145 yards distributed across 6 major cities in the U.S. Individual priorities for a set of ecosystem services were collected with closed-ended questions and reduced into four main principal components using factor analyses: natural, neat, showy and low cost. Across cities, priorities for neat yards were negatively related to overall and spontaneous species richness. Priorities for showy yards were positively related to yard aesthetics (based on showiness of flowers, fruits and leaves for component plants) and spontaneous species richness. Homeowners that preferred low-cost yards had a significantly higher proportion of exotics, and yards with significantly lower functional diversity (i.e., a composite measure for plant height, seed mass, and specific leaf area). The proportion of natives was not related to homeowners’ priorities for natural yards and phylogenetic diversity was only weakly and negatively related to priorities for showy yards. Our study corroborates previous research showing that homeowners’ landscaping priorities are only partially related to their yard vegetation at the continental scale. The disconnection might be attributed to broader institutional, structural, and ecological constraints that prevent people's personal ideals and priorities from being realized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103730
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
Volume196
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by a series of collaborative grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Macrosystems Biology Program (EF-1065548, 1065737, 1065740, 1065741, 1065772, 1065785, 1065831 and 121238320); and additionally by grants from the NSF Long Term Ecological Research Program supporting work in Baltimore (DEB-0423476), Cedar Creek (DEB-0620652), Central Arizona-Phoenix (BCS-1026865, DEB-0423704 and DEB-9714833), Florida Coastal Everglades (DBI-0620409), and Plum Island (OCE-1058747 and 1238212) and. We are grateful to the botanical field teams involved in yard sampling: Charlie Davis, Dan Dillon, Erin Mellenthin, Charlie Nicholson, Hannah Saunders, Avery Uslaner, Emma Dixon, Roberta Lombardi, Pamela Polloni, Jehane Semaha, Elisabeth Ward, Aprille Curtis, La’Shaye Ervin, Bianca Bonilla, Stephen Hodges, Lawrence Lopez, Gabriel Sone, Chris Buyarski, Emily Loberg, Alison Slaats, Kelsey Thurow, Erin Barton and Miguel Morgan. We thank Anika Bratt and Noortje Grijseels for providing pictures of yards in Miami and Los Angeles, respectively. We also greatly appreciate the thoughtful and insightful comments provided by two anonymous reviewers. Appendix A

Funding Information:
This research was supported by a series of collaborative grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Macrosystems Biology Program (EF-1065548, 1065737, 1065740, 1065741, 1065772, 1065785, 1065831 and 121238320); and additionally by grants from the NSF Long Term Ecological Research Program supporting work in Baltimore (DEB-0423476), Cedar Creek (DEB-0620652), Central Arizona-Phoenix (BCS-1026865, DEB-0423704 and DEB-9714833), Florida Coastal Everglades (DBI-0620409), and Plum Island (OCE-1058747 and 1238212) and. We are grateful to the botanical field teams involved in yard sampling: Charlie Davis, Dan Dillon, Erin Mellenthin, Charlie Nicholson, Hannah Saunders, Avery Uslaner, Emma Dixon, Roberta Lombardi, Pamela Polloni, Jehane Semaha, Elisabeth Ward, Aprille Curtis, La'Shaye Ervin, Bianca Bonilla, Stephen Hodges, Lawrence Lopez, Gabriel Sone, Chris Buyarski, Emily Loberg, Alison Slaats, Kelsey Thurow, Erin Barton and Miguel Morgan. We thank Anika Bratt and Noortje Grijseels for providing pictures of yards in Miami and Los Angeles, respectively. We also greatly appreciate the thoughtful and insightful comments provided by two anonymous reviewers.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier B.V.

Keywords

  • Domestic gardens
  • Ecosystem services
  • Human values
  • Plant biodiversity
  • Socio-ecological systems
  • Urban ecology

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