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Nonnative, Noninvasive Woody Species Can Enhance Urban Landscape Biodiversity
Abstract and Figures
Increasingly, homeowner associations and municipalities are requiring a certain percentage of native trees and shrubs as part of any new landscape installation. These native species mandates make numerous claims as to the superiority of native plants over introduced species, including their ability to enhance ecosystem biodiversity. In contrast, nonnative trees and shrubs are labeled as harmful to biodiversity, primarily because they are improperly grouped with known invasive species. This review summarizes the current published science regarding the effects of native and nonnative woody species on urban landscape stability as measured by biodiversity of associated plants, birds, insects, reptiles, and mammals. The preponderance of studies demonstrate that parameters other than species nativity have the greatest influence on biodiversity of these groups. Rather than limiting tree and shrub selection lists to a narrow palette of native species, a more practical, science-based approach to enhancing urban landscape biodiversity is suggested.
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