A systems approach reveals urban pollinator hotspots and conservation opportunities

Katherine C. R. Baldock, Mark A Goddard, Damien M. Hicks, William E Kunin, Nadine Mitschunas, Helen Morse, Lynne M Osgathorpe, Simon G. Potts, Kirsty M Robertson, Anna V Scott, Phillip P. A. Staniczenko, Graham Stone, Ian P. Vaughan, Jane Memmott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Urban areas are often perceived to have lower biodiversity than the wider countryside, but a few small-scale studies suggest that some urban land uses can support substantial pollinator populations. We present a large-scale, well-replicated study of floral resources and pollinators in 360 sites incorporating all major land uses in four British cities. Using a systems approach, we developed Bayesian network models integrating pollinator dispersal and resource switching to estimate city-scale effects of management interventions on plant-pollinator community robustness to species loss. We show that residential gardens and allotments (community gardens) are pollinator ‘hotspots’: gardens due to their extensive area, and allotments due to their high pollinator diversity and leverage on city-scale plant-pollinator community robustness. Household income was positively associated with pollinator abundance in gardens, highlighting the influence of socio-economic factors. Our results underpin urban planning recommendations to enhance pollinator conservation, using increasing city-scale community robustness as our measure of success
Original languageEnglish
Article number17082547B
Pages (from-to)363–373
Number of pages15
JournalNature Ecology & Evolution
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jan 2019


  • biodiversity
  • ecological networks
  • ecosystem services
  • robustness
  • urban ecology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'A systems approach reveals urban pollinator hotspots and conservation opportunities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this