NewsPublic AffairsEnvironment / February 14, 2014

Butler Professor Contributes to Biodiversity Study

Sam Klemet
Butler Professor Contributes to Biodiversity Study

A Butler professor helped publish a new study that says cities may not be as damaging to eco-life as believed.

The findings determine that urbanization contributes to the loss of the world's biodiversity. But, Rebecca Dolan, founder of the Butler’s Center for Urban Ecology, says it also may foster environments for life.

"While there is less diversity in the cities than in the surrounding areas, there is still a pretty high amount of diversity and in some cases even plants and birds that are considered threatened globally are still found within city boundaries," she said. 

Dolan helped co-author the repot and says communities can take steps to ensure more eco life where it isn’t present now.

"Individuals can help by planting native plants in their landscaping and their yards," she said.  "Even these days, people are looking at plantings on rooftops of green roofs or other places where you can introduce native vegetation."

Dolan says there are sometimes misconceptions in how cities are viewed when it comes to fostering life for birds and plants.

"There are actually lots of areas of green space, either in the form of protected natural areas in parks.  There is commercial landscaping.  There are street trees.  There are people's backyard gardening and landscaping," she said.  "Those are all areas that can be havens for native plants."

And she says those plants provide food and nesting space for birds.

The study looked at birds in 54 cities and plants in 110.