Research shows decline in biodiversity of suburban ecosystems | 7/12/2018 | Staff
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Worried about your lawn drying up in the summer heat? A bigger threat may lie next door, in your neighbor's—and his or her neighbor's—lawns. They all look alike, and that may not be a good thing.

Are these lawns biological deserts?

Study - Lawns - National - Science - Foundation

A study of residential lawns at National Science Foundation (NSF) Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) sites bordering Phoenix, Baltimore, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Miami, Boston and Los Angeles found that lawn maintenance is contributing to a continental-scale ecological homogenization.

Plant communities in residential lawns across the LTER sites had more in common with each other than they did with their unmanaged counterparts.

Cities - Climates - Vegetation - Types - Similarities

"The cities were selected to represent different climates and vegetation types, making the similarities in residential lawns even more striking," says Peter Groffman of the City University of New York and the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, and senior scientist on the study. The results were recently published in the journal Landscape and Urban Planning.

Turfgrasses make up the majority of residential lawn plants. Although particular turfgrass species differed among research sites, all shared similar community compositions.

Study - Sites - Parts - Country - Weeds

The study also found that sites in different parts of the country shared the same weeds, "indicating that factors other than human planting practices are contributing to the narrowing of lawn plant biodiversity," Groffman...
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