Taxonomic, phylogenetic, and functional composition and homogenization of residential yard vegetation with contrasting management

Josep Padullés Cubino, Jeannine Cavender-Bares, Peter M. Groffman, Meghan L. Avolio, Anika R. Bratt, Sharon J. Hall, Kelli L. Larson, Susannah B. Lerman, Desiree L. Narango, Christopher Neill, Tara L.E. Trammell, Megan M. Wheeler, Sarah E. Hobbie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Urban biotic homogenization is expected to be especially important in residential yards, where similar human preferences and management practices across environmentally heterogeneous regions might lead to the selection of similar plant species, closely related species, and/or species with similar sets of traits. We investigated how different yard management practices determine yard plant diversity and species composition in six cities of the U.S., and tested the extent to which yard management results in more homogeneous taxonomical, phylogenetic, and functional plant communities than the natural areas they replace or than relatively unmanaged areas at the residential-wildland interface (“interstitial” areas). We categorized yards based on fertilizer input frequency and landscaping style: high-input lawns, low-input lawns, and wildlife-certified yards. We defined homogenization as decreased average β-diversity and decreased variance in α-diversity in yards when compared to natural and interstitial areas. We found that all residential yard types regardless of their management were functionally more homogeneous for both α- and β-diversity than the natural and interstitial areas. Nevertheless, wildlife-certified yards were functionally more similar to natural areas than lawn-dominated yard types. All yard types were also more homogeneous in phylogenetic α-diversity compared to natural and interstitial areas, but more heterogenous in taxonomic α-diversity. Within yards, taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional diversity were weakly correlated, highlighting the importance of examining multiple dimensions of biodiversity beyond taxonomic metrics. Our findings underscore the ecological importance of gardening practices that both support biodiversity and create residential plant communities that are functionally heterogeneous.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103877
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
Volume202
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful to all the homeowners who allowed us to sample vegetation diversity in their yards. In Baltimore, we thank Laura Templeton for leading and coordinating the filed sampling, and for cleaning up the data. For sampling in Boston, we thank the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation and Mass Audubon for permission to sample in natural and interstitial areas, and Roberta Lombardi, Margot McIlveen, Pamela Polloni, Meghan Shave and Michael Whittemore for field assistance. In Los Angeles, we thank Noortje Grijseels for leading and coordinating the field sampling, and cleaning up the data; Nathaly Rodriguez, Cedric Lee, Kyle Gunther, Eleanor Arkin and Nathaly Rodriguez for field assistance and plant identification; and UCLA/La Kretz Center for California Conservation Science, National Park Service, Los Angeles City Department of Recreation and Parks, the Audubon Center, Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, Palos Verdes Peninsula Conservancy for permission to sample natural and interstitial sites. For sampling in Miami, we thank Miami-Dade County Parks, Florida State Parks and Pine Ridge Sanctuary for permission to sample natural and interstitial areas; and Martha Zapata, Sara Nelson, Sebastian Ruiz, and Alex Lamoreaux for field assistance. For sampling in Minneapolis-St. Paul, we thank the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the Nature Conservancy, Three Rivers Park District, the cities of Brooklyn Park, Eden Prairie, and Arden Hills, and Ramsey County Parks and Recreation for permission to sample natural and interstitial areas; and Chris Buyarski, Sophia Hahn, Ben Huber, Hannah Stellrecht, Kyle TePoel, Sara Nelson and Hannah Weisner for field assistance. For sampling in Phoenix, we thank Darin Jenke, Erik Nelson, Hannah Heavenrich, Alyssa Bailey, Caitlin Ribeiro, Christal Beauclaire-Reyes, Matthew Minjares, Randy Fulford, Amy Smeester, Manas Subberaman, Jack Oberhaus, and Laura Steger. We thank Mary Phillips and Erin Sweeney from National Wildlife Federation in accessing Wildlife Certified© yards. This research was supported by the National Science Foundation Macrosystems Biology program, grants EF-1638519 , EF-1638676 , EF-1638725 , EF-1638560 , EF-1638648 , DEB-1637590 , DEB-1832016 , DEB-1638606 . We also greatly appreciate the thoughtful and insightful comments provided by three anonymous reviewers.

Funding Information:
We are grateful to all the homeowners who allowed us to sample vegetation diversity in their yards. In Baltimore, we thank Laura Templeton for leading and coordinating the filed sampling, and for cleaning up the data. For sampling in Boston, we thank the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation and Mass Audubon for permission to sample in natural and interstitial areas, and Roberta Lombardi, Margot McIlveen, Pamela Polloni, Meghan Shave and Michael Whittemore for field assistance. In Los Angeles, we thank Noortje Grijseels for leading and coordinating the field sampling, and cleaning up the data; Nathaly Rodriguez, Cedric Lee, Kyle Gunther, Eleanor Arkin and Nathaly Rodriguez for field assistance and plant identification; and UCLA/La Kretz Center for California Conservation Science, National Park Service, Los Angeles City Department of Recreation and Parks, the Audubon Center, Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, Palos Verdes Peninsula Conservancy for permission to sample natural and interstitial sites. For sampling in Miami, we thank Miami-Dade County Parks, Florida State Parks and Pine Ridge Sanctuary for permission to sample natural and interstitial areas; and Martha Zapata, Sara Nelson, Sebastian Ruiz, and Alex Lamoreaux for field assistance. For sampling in Minneapolis-St. Paul, we thank the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the Nature Conservancy, Three Rivers Park District, the cities of Brooklyn Park, Eden Prairie, and Arden Hills, and Ramsey County Parks and Recreation for permission to sample natural and interstitial areas; and Chris Buyarski, Sophia Hahn, Ben Huber, Hannah Stellrecht, Kyle TePoel, Sara Nelson and Hannah Weisner for field assistance. For sampling in Phoenix, we thank Darin Jenke, Erik Nelson, Hannah Heavenrich, Alyssa Bailey, Caitlin Ribeiro, Christal Beauclaire-Reyes, Matthew Minjares, Randy Fulford, Amy Smeester, Manas Subberaman, Jack Oberhaus, and Laura Steger. We thank Mary Phillips and Erin Sweeney from National Wildlife Federation in accessing Wildlife Certified? yards. This research was supported by the National Science Foundation Macrosystems Biology program, grants EF-1638519, EF-1638676, EF-1638725, EF-1638560, EF-1638648, DEB-1637590, DEB-1832016, DEB-1638606. We also greatly appreciate the thoughtful and insightful comments provided by three anonymous reviewers.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier B.V.

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