Global patterns of diversity in the urban forest: is there evidence to support the 10/20/30 rule?
Kendal, D and Dobbs, C and Lohr, VI, Global patterns of diversity in the urban forest: is there evidence to support the 10/20/30 rule?, Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, 13, (3) pp. 411-417. ISSN 1618-8667 (2014) [Refereed Article]
Diversity in the urban forest is important as it reduces risks from pests and diseases and from climate change and improves resilience in the supply of ecosystem services. To manage and improve diversity, there has been wide-spread acceptance of the 10/20/30 ‘rule of thumb’ proposed by Santamour, which states that municipal forests should comprise no more than 10% of any particular species, 20% of any one genus or 30% of any single family. While the implementation of targets based on Santamour's rule has contributed to a more diverse and resilient urban forest in many cities, there has been little empirical investigation of actual patterns of diversity occurring globally in different climates and land uses. In this study, we explored diversity and the relative abundance of the most common species, genus and family in 151 urban forest inventories from 108 different cities around the world. Observed patterns showed that relative abundance of the most common taxon was a good predictor of diversity and could be a useful measure of diversity for urban forest managers. Relative abundance of the most common taxon was much higher than the proposed benchmark at the species level, but comparable with proposed benchmarks at the genus and family level. Patterns varied by both climate and land use. Diversity was consistently lower in Continental climates and in streetscapes, and higher in Temperate climates and in urban forests that spanned multiple land uses. Further considerations in setting diversity benchmarks are discussed.