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Urban EcologyPatterns, Processes, and Applications$
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Jari Niemelä, Jürgen H. Breuste, Thomas Elmqvist, Glenn Guntenspergen, Philip James, and Nancy E. McIntyre

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199563562

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199563562.001.0001

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Urban Flora and Vegetation: Patterns and Processes

Urban Flora and Vegetation: Patterns and Processes

Chapter:
(p.148) Chapter 3.2 Urban Flora and Vegetation: Patterns and Processes
Source:
Urban Ecology
Author(s):

Sarel S. Cilliers

Stefan J. Siebert

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199563562.003.0018

Vegetation is the most palpable representation of any ecosystem and this chapter aims to explore different processes that are driving vegetation patterns in urban areas. Different approaches to explain ‘urban vegetation’ are discussed, as well as the current state of research on the subject and the main focus of future urban vegetation research. Examples from literature and case studies from developed and developing countries are used to discuss the effect of processes such as habitat transformation and fragmentation, urban environmental conditions, human impacts, and introduced species on urban vegetation patterns. Emphasis is placed on the complexity of the processes as well as the problem of linking certain processes to specific patterns. This chapter explores habitat fragmentation as a driver of urban biodiversity as it is widely used as an umbrella term for several ecological processes, patterns, and biotic responses. It is important to distinguish between ‘habitat losses’, ‘habitat isolation’, and ‘indigenous vegetation loss’. The major patterns of plant diversity as an outcome of important environmental processes at a fine scale is also discussed, focusing on different types of anthropogenic disturbances. The importance of historical factors on urban biodiversity and other legacy effects such as previous gardening cultures is also explored, emphasizing the need for more fine-scale studies on socio-economic and cultural aspects as drivers of urban biodiversity.

Keywords:   habit transformation, fragmentation, disturbances, human impacts, introduced species, legacy effects

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