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Urban Ecosystems

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 403–413 | Cite as

Intrinsic and extrinsic drivers of yard vegetation in urban residential areas: implications for conservation planning

  • Khrisia A. Torres-Camacho
  • Elvia J. Meléndez-AckermanEmail author
  • Elizabeth Díaz
  • Nicolás Correa
  • Cristina Vila-Ruiz
  • Sofía Olivero-Lora
  • Angélica Erazo
  • José Fontánez
  • Luis Santiago
  • José Seguinot
Article
  • 351 Downloads

Abstract

Residential green areas often represent a significant portion of a city’s green infrastructure which has generated great interest in studying the factors that contribute to the formation of plant associations in residential yards. This project evaluated the external factors to the household social-ecological system that influence the availability of plants for residential landscapes and how they may influence the presence of native plants in residential yards on households within the Río Piedras watershed in the metropolitan area of San Juan, Puerto Rico. The methods used included a residential survey with open and closed questions that addressed the sources of plants used in landscaping and an evaluation of ornamental plant species inventories from local nurseries. A total of 432 yards were surveyed. Yard plants in this watershed have multiple sources. Aside from obtaining plants at local nurseries, natural dispersion, exchanges among family and friends and historical plantings can be just as important sources of yard plants. Our results also suggest that the majority of residents do not know where to get native plants which could represent a challenge for the development and implementation of initiatives for natives gardening. At the same time, most commercial nurseries have a deficit of native plants in their inventories. This information is critical to species conservation strategies that seek the inclusion of urban residential areas and may help improve initiatives about the involvement of individual citizens in sustainable gardening practices at the residential scale.

Keywords

Social-ecological system Residential areas Native plants Watershed Nursery trade 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work has been supported by NSF-IGERT (HRD 00801577) and its program Agents of Change, CREST-CATEC (HRD-0734826) and, NSF San Juan ULTRA-ex (DEB-0948507). We would like to thank Pedro Delgado, Alejandra Bonilla, Stella González, Karla Torres, Jessenia Fontánez, Aramis Garay, Carla López-Lloreda and Sofyaneli Colón for their help during fieldwork and the residents of the Río Piedras watershed for their willingness to participate in his study.

Supplementary material

11252_2016_602_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (188 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 188 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Khrisia A. Torres-Camacho
    • 1
  • Elvia J. Meléndez-Ackerman
    • 1
    Email author
  • Elizabeth Díaz
    • 2
  • Nicolás Correa
    • 2
    • 3
  • Cristina Vila-Ruiz
    • 2
    • 4
  • Sofía Olivero-Lora
    • 1
  • Angélica Erazo
    • 1
  • José Fontánez
    • 3
  • Luis Santiago
    • 5
  • José Seguinot
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Environmental SciencesUniversity of Puerto RicoSan JuanUSA
  2. 2.Center for Applied Tropical Ecology and ConservationUniversity of Puerto RicoSan JuanUSA
  3. 3.Department of BiologyUniversity of Puerto RicoSan JuanUSA
  4. 4.Department of Forestry and Environmental Resource, College of Natural ResourceNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA
  5. 5.Graduate School of PlanningUniversity of Puerto RicoSan JuanUSA
  6. 6.Environmental Health Department, Graduate School of Public HealthUniversity of Puerto RicoSan JuanUSA

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