Advertisement

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

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Biodiversity Domestic gardens Housing Urbanisation 

Notes

Acknowledgements

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.

References

  1. Alberti M (2005) The effects of urban patterns on ecosystem function. Int Regional Sci Rev 28:168–192CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Blair RB (1996) Land use and avian species diversity along an urban gradient. Ecol Appl 6:506–519CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bolund P, Hunhammar S (1999) Ecosystem services in urban areas. Ecol Econ 29:293–301CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Boyle P, Dorling D (2004) Guest editorial: the 2001 UK census: remarkable resource or bygone legacy of the ‘pencil and paper era’? Area 36:101–110CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. CABE Space (2004) The value of public space: how high quality parks and public spaces create economic, social and environmental value. CABE Space, LondonGoogle Scholar
  6. DEFRA (2002) Working with the grain of nature. Defra Publications, LondonGoogle Scholar
  7. DEFRA (2003) Measuring progress: baseline assessment. Defra Publications, LondonGoogle Scholar
  8. DETR (2000) Our towns and cities: the future—full report. Department of Transport and the Regions, LondonGoogle Scholar
  9. Dunnett N, Quasim M (2000) Perceived benefits to human well-being of urban gardens. HortTechnology 10:40–45Google Scholar
  10. Er KBH, Innes JL, Martin K, Klinkenberg B (2005) Forest loss with urbanization predicts bird extirpations in Vancouver. Biol Conserv 126:410–419CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Galea S, Ahern J, Rudenstine S, Wallace Z, Vlahov D (2005) Urban built environment and depression: a multilevel analysis. J Epidemiol Community Health 59:822–827CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Gaston KJ, Smith RM, Thompson K, Warren PH (2004) Gardens and wildlife—the BUGS project. Br Wildl 16:1–9Google Scholar
  13. Gaston KJ, Warren PH, Thompson K, Smith RM (2005a) Urban domestic gardens (IV): the extent of the resource and its associated features. Biodivers Conserv 14:3327–3349CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gaston KJ, Smith RM, Thompson K, Warren PH (2005b) Urban domestic gardens (II): experimental tests of methods for increasing biodiversity. Biodivers Conserv 14:395–413CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Jones CA (2002) Research reports—EPSRC sustainable urban form consortium. Plann Practice Res 18:231–233Google Scholar
  16. Kellett JE (1982) The private garden in England and Wales. Landsc Plann 9:105–123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kühn I, Klotz S (2006) Urbanization and homogenization—comparing the floras of urban and rural areas in Germany. Biol Conserv 127:292–300CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Loram A, Tratalos J, Warren PH, Gaston KJ (in press) Urban domestic gardens (X): the extent & structure of the resource in five major cities. Landsc EcolGoogle Scholar
  19. Luttik J (2000) The value of trees, water and open space as reflected by house prices in the Netherlands. Landsc Urban Plan 48:161–167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Morancho AB (2003) A hedonic valuation of urban green areas. Landsc Urban Plan 66:35–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Murray KJ, Shiell D (2003) A new geographic information framework for Great Britain. Photogram Eng Rem Sens 69:1175–1182Google Scholar
  22. ODPM (2002) Planning policy guidance note 3 (PPG 3). Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. HMSO, LondonGoogle Scholar
  23. Royal Horticultural Society (2006) Front gardens: are we parking on our gardens? Do driveways cause flooding? Royal Horticultural Society, WokingGoogle Scholar
  24. Smith RM, Gaston KJ, Warren PH, Thompson K (2005) Urban domestic gardens (V): relationships between landcover composition, housing and landscape. Landsc Ecol 20:235–253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Smith RM, Thompson K, Hodgson JG, Warren PH, Gaston KJ (2006a) Urban domestic gardens (IX): composition and richness of the vascular plant flora, and implications for native biodiversity. Biol Conserv 129:312–322CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Smith RM, Warren PH, Thompson K, Gaston KJ (2006b) Urban domestic gardens (VI): environmental correlates of invertebrate species richness. Biodivers Conserv 15:2415–2438CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Takano T, Nakamura K, Watanabe M (2002) Urban residential environments and senior citizen’s longevity in megacity areas: the importance of walkable green spaces. J Epidemiol Community Health 56:913–918CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Thompson K, Austin KC, Smith RH, Warren PH, Angold PG, Gaston KJ (2003) Urban domestic gardens (I): putting small-scale plant diversity in context. J Veg Sci 14:71–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Thompson K, Hodgson JG, Smith RM, Warren PH, Gaston KJ (2004) Urban domestic gardens (III): composition and diversity of lawn floras. J Veg Sci 15:371–376Google Scholar
  30. Thompson K, Colsell S, Carpenter J, Smith RM, Warren PH, Gaston KJ (2005) Urban domestic gardens (VII): a preliminary survey of soil seed banks. Seed Sci Res 15:133–141CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Ulrich RS (1984) View through a window may influence recovery from surgery. Science 224:420–421CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. United Nations (2004) World urbanization prospects: the 2003 revision. United Nations, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  33. White JG, Antos MJ, Fitzsimons JA, Palmer GC (2005) Non-uniform bird assemblages in urban environments: the influence of streetscape vegetation. Landsc Urban Plan 71:123–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Wray S, Hay J, Walker H, Staff R (2005) Audit of the towns, cities and development workstream of the England biodiversity strategy. English Nature research report 652. English Nature, PeterboroughGoogle Scholar
  35. Zanette LRS, Martins RP, Ribeiro SP (2005) Effects of urbanization on neotropical wasp and bee assemblages in a Brazilian metropolis. Landsc Urban Plan 71:105–121CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations