Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 16, Issue 11, pp 3227–3238 | Cite as

Urban domestic gardens (XI): variation in urban wildlife gardening in the United Kingdom

  • Kevin J. Gaston
  • Richard A. Fuller
  • Alison Loram
  • Charlotte MacDonald
  • Sinead Power
  • Nicola Dempsey
Original Paper


Two consequences of the continued urbanisation of the human population are that a growing proportion of the landscape is less hospitable to, and that a growing proportion of people are disconnected from, native biodiversity. One response of the UK government has been to establish a goal, and an associated baseline indicator, of increasing the extent and range of public participation in gardening for wildlife. The formulation of policy to attain this end requires, however, insight into the factors that are associated with the level of participation. Here we examine the relationships, across 15 areas in five UK cities, between the proportion of households providing various garden features for wildlife or participating in various wildlife gardening activities, and housing densities and characteristics of the garden resource. We show that significant numbers of households participate in some form of wildlife gardening, but that the predominant form this participation takes is feeding wild birds. Key variables associated with spatial variation in wildlife gardening activities are the proportion of households with access to a garden and, more importantly, average garden size and the proportion of land cover by gardens. There was no evidence for strong effects of household density or the socio-economic status of householders on the prevalence of wildlife friendly features in gardens or on the participation by householders in activities to encourage wildlife. Our results suggest important considerations in attempts to increase awareness and participation in wildlife gardening.


Biodiversity Domestic gardens Housing Urbanisation 



This work was funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (through the CityForm research consortium), the Countryside Council for Wales, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, English Nature, the Environment and Heritage Service and the Scottish and Northern Ireland forum for Environmental Research. MasterMap data were kindly supplied by Ordnance Survey, by licence through the CityForm Consortium. We are grateful to members of the consortium who helped in collecting the questionnaire data, and to P. Cush, S. Ferguson, P. Frost, S. Gaston and D. Knight for comments and discussion.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kevin J. Gaston
    • 1
  • Richard A. Fuller
    • 1
  • Alison Loram
    • 1
  • Charlotte MacDonald
    • 2
  • Sinead Power
    • 2
  • Nicola Dempsey
    • 3
  1. 1.Biodiversity and Macroecology Group, Department of Animal and Plant SciencesUniversity of SheffieldSheffieldUK
  2. 2.School of the Built EnvironmentHeriot Watt UniversityEdinburghUK
  3. 3.Oxford Institute for Sustainable DevelopmentOxford Brookes UniversityOxfordUK

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