Plants Rare to Urban Gardens Draw Uncommon Bees and Birds

by Amy Olsen, Dartmouth College
August 02, 2022

Urban gardens can be hotspots for biodiversity, but little is known about what drives the biodiversity of species existing at low frequencies in cities.

Plant species that are generally uncommon in urban areas but planted in urban gardens attract rare bee and bird species, according to a Dartmouth-led study examining urban garden sites in Northern California. The 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, an assistant professor of environmental studies.

More than 50% of the plants observed in the urban gardens were categorized as rare, meaning they were not typically found in the gardens in the study.

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