WEATHER »

Cities Better for Biodiversity Than Previously Thought


UCSB researchers at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) recently found that urban environments worldwide may not be as bad for plants and animals as it may seem. Though urbanization diminishes biodiversity across the globe, the study — which examined 147 cities — determined that hundreds of bird species and thousands of plant species exist in a single city.

And although cities support only 8 percent of bird species and 25 percent of native plant species compared to more rural settings, urban areas can retain a “unique regional flavor” by conserving green spaces and creating refuges within bustling cities. Dubbed the Central Park Effect, the phenomenon suggests that cities can play a major role in conserving the native plant and animal species by beefing up its patches of greenery. Even threatened and endangered species can flourish in urban centers, the study states.

“This can be a cup half-full or half-empty scenario,” said Madhusudan Katti, who is a NCEAS working group member from the Department of Biology at California State University, Fresno. “If you act now and rethink the design of our urban landscapes, cities can play a major role in conserving the remaining native plant and animal species and help bring back more of them.”

To submit a comment on this article, email letters@independent.com or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email tips@independent.com.



Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

Santa Barbara Surfer Chris Brown Dies

Body found just east of Hendry’s Beach.

Damaged Bridge Repairs Delayed

March, June, and July given as possible completion dates by Caltrans for six bridges along the 192 ...

Natural History Museum Begins Vertebrate Preservation Project

The project will move 45,000 specimens into bug-proof conservation boxes.

Santa Barbara Joins in on 2019 Women’s March

Santa Barbara participates in annual national Women’s March on Saturday.

Federal Workers Get Utility Bill Break from Lompoc

City decides to extend utility due dates for federal employees during government shutdown.