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Climate differentiates forest structure across a residential macrosystem

Metadata Updated: November 12, 2020

The extent of urban ecological homogenization depends on how humans build, inhabit, and manage cities. Morphological and socio-economic facets of neighborhoods can drive the homogenization of forest cover, thus affecting urban ecological and hydrological processes, and ecosystem services. Recent evidence, however, suggests that the same biophysical drivers differentiating composition and structure of natural forests can further counteract the homogenization of urban forests. We hypothesize that climate can differentiate forest structure across residential macrosystems, regional-to-continental discontinuous systems of urban land. To test this hypothesis, forest structure (tree and shrub cover and volume) was measured using LiDAR data and multispectral imagery across a residential macrosystem composed of 9 cities, 1503 neighborhoods, and 1.4 million residential parcels. Cities were selected along a potential evapotranspiration (PET) gradient in the conterminous United States, ranging from the colder continental climate of Fargo, North Dakota (PET = 66.21 mm) to the hotter subtropical climate of Tallahassee, Florida (PET = 160.49 mm). The relative effects of climate, urban morphology, and socio-economic variables on residential forest structure were assessed by using generalized linear models. Climate differentiated forest structure of the residential macrosystem as hypothesized. Average forest cover doubled along the PET gradient (0.39 - 0.78 m2 m-2), whereas average forest volume had a threefold increase (2.50 – 8.12 m3 m-2). Forest volume across neighborhoods increased exponentially with forest cover. Urban morphology had a greater effect in homogenizing forest structure on residential parcels compared to socio-economics. Climate and urban morphology variables best predicted residential forest structure, whereas socio-economic variables had the lowest predictive power. Results indicate that climate can differentiate forest structure across residential macrosystems and may counteract the homogenizing effects of urban morphology and socio-economic drivers at city-wide scales. This resonates with recent empirical work suggesting the existence of complex multi-scalar mechanisms that regulate ecological homogenization and ecosystem convergence among cities. The study initiates high-resolution assessments of forest structure across entire urban macrosystems and breaks new ground for research on the ecological and hydrological significance of urban vegetation at subcontinental scale.

This dataset is associated with the following publication: Ossola, A., and M. Hopton. Climate differentiates forest structure across a residential macrosystem. SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT. Elsevier BV, AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS, 639: 1164-1174, (2018).

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Metadata Created Date November 12, 2020
Metadata Updated Date November 12, 2020

Metadata Source

Harvested from EPA ScienceHub

Additional Metadata

Resource Type Dataset
Metadata Created Date November 12, 2020
Metadata Updated Date November 12, 2020
Publisher U.S. EPA Office of Research and Development (ORD)
Data Last Modified 2017-08-17
Public Access Level public
Bureau Code 020:00
Schema Version
Harvest Object Id f7350275-c57c-41fd-98a1-6f585915650c
Harvest Source Id 04b59eaf-ae53-4066-93db-80f2ed0df446
Harvest Source Title EPA ScienceHub
Program Code 020:096
Publisher Hierarchy U.S. Government > U.S. Environmental Protection Agency > U.S. EPA Office of Research and Development (ORD)
Related Documents
Source Datajson Identifier True
Source Hash 44afea2459224cb6d2c2fcc15fc958ecf173e351
Source Schema Version 1.1

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