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Arizona State University (ASU) 2015

Ecology and the City : A Long-Term Social-Ecological Examination of the Drivers and Diversity of Urban Vegetation

Ripplinger, Julie

Titre : Ecology and the City : A Long-Term Social-Ecological Examination of the Drivers and Diversity of Urban Vegetation

Auteur : Ripplinger, Julie

Université de soutenance : Arizona State University (ASU)

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 2015

Résumé
Often, when thinking of cities we envision designed landscapes, where people regulate everything from water to weeds, ultimately resulting in an ecosystem decoupled from biophysical processes. It is unclear, however, what happens when the people regulating these extensively managed landscapes come under stress, whether from unexpected economic fluctuations or from changing climate norms. The overarching question of my dissertation research was : How does urban vegetation change in response to human behavior ? To answer this question, I conducted multiscale research in an arid urban ecosystem as well as in a virtual desert city. I used a combination of long-term data and agent-based modeling to examine changes in vegetation across a range of measures influenced by biophysical, climate, institutional, and socioeconomic drivers. At the regional scale, total plant species diversity increased from 2000 to 2010, while species composition became increasingly homogeneous in urban and agricultural areas. At the residential scale, I investigated the effects of biophysical and socioeconomic drivers – the Great Recession of 2007-2010 in particular – on changing residential yard vegetation in Phoenix, AZ. Socioeconomic drivers affected plant composition and increasing richness, but the housing boom from 2000 through 2005 had a stronger influence on vegetation change than the subsequent recession. Surprisingly, annual plant species remained coupled to winter precipitation despite my expectation that their dynamics might be driven by socioeconomic fluctuations. In a modeling experiment, I examined the relative strength of psychological, social, and governance influences on large-scale urban land cover in a desert city. Model results suggested that social norms may be strong enough to lead to large-scale conversion to low water use residential landscaping, and governance may be unnecessary to catalyze residential landscape conversion under the pressure of extreme drought conditions. Overall, my dissertation research showed that urban vegetation is dynamic, even under the presumably stabilizing influence of human management activities. Increasing climate pressure, unexpected socioeconomic disturbances, growing urban populations, and shifting policies all contribute to urban vegetation dynamics. Incorporating these findings into planning policies will contribute to the sustainable management of urban ecosystems

Sujets : Ecology / Urban planning / Botany / ecosystem services / landscape ecology / social-ecological systems / urban ecology

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Page publiée le 10 février 2016, mise à jour le 16 novembre 2017