Impact of native plants on bird and butterfly biodiversity in suburban landscapes

  • Published source details Burghardt K.T., Tallamy D.W. & Shriver W.G. (2008) Impact of native plants on bird and butterfly biodiversity in suburban landscapes. Conservation Biology, 23, 219-224.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Plant parks, gardens and road verges with appropriate native species

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation
  1. Plant parks, gardens and road verges with appropriate native species

    A replicated, paired, site comparison study in 2006 in 12 suburban gardens in Pennsylvania, USA (Burghardt et al. 2008) found that gardens planted exclusively with native plants had four times more butterfly and moth caterpillars and three times more caterpillar species than gardens with a conventional mixture of native and non-native plants. Both the abundance (12.7 individuals/site) and species richness (6.8 species/site) of caterpillars were higher in gardens with native plants than in conventional gardens (abundance: 3.0 individuals/site; richness: 1.8 species/site). Six pairs of gardens (0.13–5.26 ha) within 1.6 km of each other, and with similar area, vegetation structure and surrounding landscape, were selected. One garden in each pair was planted exclusively with native plants (canopy, understorey, shrubs and grasses), while the other contained a conventional mix of cool-season Eurasian grasses, Asian shrubs and understorey trees, and native canopy. From August–September 2006, each garden was surveyed once. All butterfly and moth caterpillars on all twigs and vegetation within reach and within a 0.5-m radius of 12 evenly-spaced points/garden were identified.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

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