Increased plant species richness associates with greater soil bacterial diversity in urban green spaces

Zdravko Baruch, Craig Liddicoat, Christian Cando-Dumancela, Mark Laws, Hamish Morelli, Philip Weinstein, Jennifer M. Young, Martin F. Breed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


The vegetation and soil microbiome within urban green spaces is increasingly managed to help conserve biodiversity and improve human health concurrently. However, the effects of green space management on urban soil ecosystems is poorly understood, despite their importance. Across 40 urban green spaces in metropolitan Adelaide, South Australia, we show that soil bacterial communities are strongly affected by urban green space type (incl. sport fields, community gardens, parklands and revegetated areas), and that plant species richness is positively associated with soil bacterial diversity. Importantly, these microbiome trends were not affected by geographic proximity of sample sites. Our results provide early evidence that urban green space management can have predictable effects on the soil microbiome, at least from a diversity perspective, which could prove important to inform policy development if urban green spaces are to be managed to optimise population health benefits.
Original languageEnglish
Article number110425
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Research
Early online date4 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • 16S ribosomal RNA
  • Bacteria
  • Public health
  • Urban ecology
  • Urban green space


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