Urbanization is not associated with increased abundance or decreased richness of terrestrial animals - dissecting the literature through meta-analysis

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Scott J. Richter, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/

Abstract: The widely accepted consensus is that urbanization increases abundance but reduces species richness of animals. This assumption is the premise for empirical tests and theoretical explanations. We studied the association of urbanization with abundance and species richness of different animal taxa in 20 and 26 published articles reporting abundances and richness, respectively via meta-analysis. Because some articles had multiple estimates, we analyzed 40 and 58 estimates of abundance and richness, respectively. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the overall abundance of terrestrial animals was not higher in urban areas, but instead actually lower, while we failed to confirm the conventional thinking of lower species richness with urbanization. These findings cannot, however, be generalized across all cities and animal species, as conflicting differences were reported among geographical regions, animal taxa. Our results question the conventional wisdom that urbanization generally increases abundances while reducing species richness, and highlights the variability of urbanization effects on diversity among taxa and geographic regions.

Additional Information

Urban Ecosystems, 19(3),1251–1264
Language: English
Date: 2016
Species richness, Abundance, Cities, Urbanization, Meta-analysis

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