Urban Ecosystems

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 611–624 | Cite as

Urban biodiversity: comparison of insect assemblages on native and non-native trees

  • Alvin J. HeldenEmail author
  • Gemma C. Stamp
  • Simon R. Leather


Trees are thought to be important for supporting urban biodiversity. However tree species differ considerably in the numbers of invertebrates they support, with potential consequences for higher trophic groups such as birds. In this study the influence of native and non-native trees on the abundance of insects (Hemiptera) and the incidence of insectivorous birds (Paridae) were investigated in the southern English town of Bracknell. The number and species of tree were recorded from each of 17 roundabout and parkland sites. Tree beating was used to sample arboreal Hemiptera and Paridae were recorded either with point counts and transect walks, depending on the size of the site. Due to the great variation between tree species, there was no overall significant difference in species richness or abundance of Hemiptera between native and non-native tree species. However, individual native trees had more species and individuals than non-natives. The proportion of native trees at Bracknell sites was positively related to the abundance of both Hemiptera and the number of Paridae observed. The consequences of vegetation type for insect abundance indicates that in order to sustain and enhance urban biodiversity, careful consideration needs to be given to species of trees present in urban areas.


Hemiptera Trees Paridae Roundabouts 



We are very grateful to Bracknell Forest Council and Bracknell Town Council for their advice and for allowing us to study the Bracknell sites. Dr. Bernard Nau provided draft copies of his key to the Miridae and Heteroptera checklist, and helped with the identification of some species.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alvin J. Helden
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Gemma C. Stamp
    • 2
  • Simon R. Leather
    • 2
  1. 1.Animal and Environmental Research Group, Department of Life SciencesAnglia Ruskin UniversityCambridgeUK
  2. 2.Division of BiologyImperial College LondonAscotUK

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