Vegetation composition and structure of forest patches along urban–rural gradients

Wayne C. Zipperer, Glenn R. Guntenspergen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

16 Scopus citations


Introduction: The urban landscape is highly altered by human activities and is a mosaic of different land covers and land uses. Imbedded in this are forest patches of different origins (Zipperer et al., 1997). How these patches influence and are influenced by the urban landscape is of ecological importance when managing the urban forest for ecosystem goods and services. To evaluate how forests respond to altered environmental conditions of urban landscapes, McDonnell and Pickett (1990) proposed an urban-to-rural gradient approach. The approach builds on an established ecological methodology, gradient analysis, to evaluate species response to changes in environmental conditions (Whittaker, 1967; Pickett et al., Chapter 3). Two basic categories of gradient analyses exist – direct and indirect. Simplistically, direct gradient analysis is typically employed when a single factor is used or the underlying environmental factors are organised linearly, whereas indirect gradient analysis is used when the multiple interacting factors and the environmental factors are not organised linearly across a landscape or in a regular pattern (Ter Braak and Prentice, 1988). Other approaches exist for studying the response of ecosystems to altered environmental conditions in urban environments, such as biotope mapping (Breuste, Chapter 21) and patch dynamic approaches (Nilon, Chapter 10).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEcology of Cities and Towns
Subtitle of host publicationA Comparative Approach
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9780511609763
ISBN (Print)9780521861120
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009

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    Zipperer, W. C., & Guntenspergen, G. R. (2009). Vegetation composition and structure of forest patches along urban–rural gradients. In Ecology of Cities and Towns: A Comparative Approach (pp. 274-286). Cambridge University Press.