Urban Ecosystems

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 63-77

First online:

Ecological research can augment restoration practice in urban areas degraded by invasive species—examples from Chicago Wilderness

  • Liam HeneghanAffiliated withEnvironmental Science Program, DePaul University Email author 
  • , Lauren UmekAffiliated withEnvironmental Science Program, DePaul University
  • , Brad BernauAffiliated withEnvironmental Science Program, DePaul University
  • , Kevin GradyAffiliated withEnvironmental Science Program, DePaul University
  • , Jamie IatropulosAffiliated withEnvironmental Science Program, DePaul University
  • , David JabonAffiliated withScientific Data Analysis and Visualization Program, DePaul University
  • , Margaret WorkmanAffiliated withEnvironmental Science Program, DePaul University

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Urban biodiversity conservation needs a firm scientific foundation, one that draws upon active and regionally calibrated research programs. Until recently this foundation has not existed. In this paper we examine the way in which the emerging discipline of restoration ecology in an urban context can learn from the experiences of ongoing restoration projects and in turn how novel insights from research of urban soils can help these projects define and reach their goals. Limitations on collaboration between academic researchers and practitioners continues be problematic. We discuss a model whereby this impediment may be removed. A case study of Rhamnus cathartica, an invader of Midwestern woodlands which modifies some important soil ecosystem properties will be used to illustrate the potential for engagement between research and practice.


Urban ecology Restoration Ecology and management Interdisciplinary research Soil restoration Buckthorn Rhamnus cathartica Invasive species