Socioeconomic Drivers of Yard Sustainable Practices in a Tropical City

"A growing body of work has emphasized the importance of residential areas to the overall green infrastructure of cities and recognizes that outcomes related to these areas are best studied using a social-ecological approach. We conducted vegetation surveys to evaluate yard practices that relate to the state of the yard vegetation, including species diversity and abundance, vegetation structure, and the percent of green area of yards versus paved areas, at the Río Piedras watershed within the San Juan metropolitan area. We used concomitant social household surveys to evaluate the association of social-economic and demographic factors at the household scale with these vegetation characteristics, as well as with landscape-level characteristics related to urban morphology and elevation. Our results for this tropical site were consistent with studies elsewhere in that a greater number of social factors at the household scale were more important in explaining the traits related to how green the yards were. On the other hand, we failed to detect the so-called luxury effect on urban vegetation encountered at many sites. Instead, we found consistent vegetation associations with the age of the residents, housing ownership, and, most importantly, with yard size. We have discussed the potential reasons for these discrepancies and the potential consequences of the human–natural links at the household scale to the future dynamics of this portion of the green infrastructure within this urban watershed."
biodiversity, social-ecological systems, sustainability, green economics, urban affairs