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Abstract (from http://www.esajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1890/13-1961.1): Trees provide ecosystem services that counter negative effects of urban habitats on human and environmental health. Unfortunately, herbivorous arthropod pests are often more abundant on urban than rural trees, reducing tree growth, survival, and ecosystem services. Previous research where vegetation complexity was reduced has attributed elevated urban pest abundance to decreased regulation by natural enemies. However, reducing vegetation complexity, particularly the density of overstory trees, also makes cities hotter than natural habitats. We ask how urban habitat characteristics influence an abiotic factor, temperature, and a biotic factor,...
Abstract (from http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0059687): Cities profoundly alter biological communities, favoring some species over others, though the mechanisms that govern these changes are largely unknown. Herbivorous arthropod pests are often more abundant in urban than in rural areas, and urban outbreaks have been attributed to reduced control by predators and parasitoids and to increased susceptibility of stressed urban plants. These hypotheses, however, leave many outbreaks unexplained and fail to predict variation in pest abundance within cities. Here we show that the abundance of a common insect pest is positively related to temperature even when controlling for other habitat...
Abstract (from http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0102996): Trees are essential to urban habitats because they provide services that benefit the environment and improve human health. Unfortunately, urban trees often have more herbivorous insect pests than rural trees but the mechanisms and consequences of these infestations are not well documented. Here, we examine how temperature affects the abundance of a scale insect, Melanaspis tenebricosa (Comstock) (Hemiptera: Diaspididae), on one of the most commonly planted street trees in the eastern U.S. Next, we examine how both pest abundance and temperature are associated with water stress, growth, and condition of 26 urban street trees....
Ecologists increasingly use plot-scale data to inform research and policy related to regional and global environmental change. For soil chemistry research, scaling from the plot to the region is especially difficult due to high spatial variability at all scales. We used a hierarchical Bayesian model of plot-scale soil nutrient pools to predict storage of soil organic carbon (oC), inorganic carbon (iC), total nitrogen (N), and available phosphorus (avP) in a 7962-km2 area including the Phoenix, Arizona, USA, metropolitan area and its desert and agricultural surroundings. The Bayesian approach was compared to a traditional approach that multiplied mean values for urban mesic residential, urban xeric residential, nonresidential...
Abstarct (from Oikos): Urban landscapes are characterized by high proportions of impervious surface resulting in higher temperatures than adjacent natural landscapes. In some cities, like those at cooler latitudes, trees may benefit from warmer urban temperatures, but trees in many cities are beset with problems like drought stress and increased herbivory. What drives patterns of urban tree health across urbanization and latitudinal temperature gradients? In natural systems, latitude–herbivory relationships are well‐studied, and recent temperate studies have shown that herbivory generally increases with decreasing latitudes (warmer temperatures). However, the applicability of this latitude–herbivory theory in already‐warmed...
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The emerging multi-LCC Ecological Places in Cities Network integrates the ecological and urban communities to guide and promote conservation practices, such as those across the monarch flyway. The ETPBR LCC is working with a number of other Service programs and external partners to build capacity for the development and implementation of a framework that can be tailored to individual cities of various sizes to evaluate their unique situations and design an urban monarch conservation strategy that optimizes the potential contributions of their urban area. Specifically, this project will continue to lay the groundwork for design principles to guide the development, testing and deployment of future urban conservation...
Land cover maps reasonably depict areas that are strongly converted by human activities, but typically are unable to resolve low-density but widespread development patterns. Data products specifically designed to resolve land uses complement land cover datasets and likely improve our ability to understand the extent and complexity of human modification. Methods for developing a comprehensive land use classification system are described, and a map of land use for the conterminous United States is presented to reveal what we are doing on the land. The comprehensive, detailed and high-resolution dataset was developed through spatial analysis of nearly two-dozen publicly-available, national spatial datasets–predominantly...
The frequency and intensity of hurricanes are increasing globally, and anthropogenic modifications in cities have created systems that may be particularly vulnerable to their negative effects. Organisms living in cities are exposed to variable levels of chronic environmental stress. However, whether chronic stress ameliorates or exacerbates the negative effects of hurricanes remains an open question. Here, we consider two hypotheses about the simultaneous consequences of acute disturbances from hurricanes and chronic stress from urbanization for the structure of urban arthropod communities. The tipping point hypothesis posits that organisms living in high stress habitats are less resilient than those in low stress...
The future trajectory of fossil fuel emissions is one of the largest uncertainties in predicting climate change. While global emissions scenarios are ultimately of interest for climate modeling, many of the factors that influence energy and fuel consumption operate on a local rather than global level. However, there have been relatively few comprehensive studies of the ecological and socioeconomic processes that will determine the future trajectory of net carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions at local and regional scales. We conducted an interdisciplinary, whole ecosystem study of the role of climate, urban expansion, urban form, transportation, and the urban forest in influencing net CO2 emissions in the Salt Lake Valley,...
Abstract (from http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0102261): The future health of ecosystems is arguably as dependent on urban sprawl as it is on human-caused climatic warming. Urban sprawl strongly impacts the urban ecosystems it creates and the natural and agro-ecosystems that it displaces and fragments. Here, we project urban sprawl changes for the next 50 years for the fast-growing Southeast U.S. Previous studies have focused on modeling population density, but the urban extent is arguably as important as population density per se in terms of its ecological and conservation impacts. We develop simulations using the SLEUTH urban growth model that complement population-driven models...


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