Urban Ecosystems

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 863–877 | Cite as

Ecological integrity in urban forests

Article

Abstract

Ecological integrity has been an umbrella concept guiding ecosystem management for several decades. Though plenty of definitions of ecological integrity exist, the concept is best understood through related concepts, chiefly, ecosystem health, biodiversity, native species, stressors, resilience and self-maintenance. Discussions on how ecological integrity may be relevant to complex human-nature ecosystems, besides those set aside for conservation, are growing in number. In the case of urban forests, no significant effort has yet been made to address the holistic concept of ecological integrity for the urban forest system. Preliminary connections between goals such as increasing tree health, maintaining canopy cover, and reducing anthropogenic stressors and the general notion of integrity exist. However, other related concepts, such as increasing biodiversity, the planting of native species, and the full meaning of ecosystem health beyond merely tree health have not been addressed profoundly as contributors to urban forest integrity. Meanwhile, other concepts such as resilience to change and self-maintenance are not addressed explicitly. In this paper we reveal two camps of interpretation of ecological integrity for urban forests that in turn rely on a particular definition of the urban forest ecosystem and a set of urban forest values. Convergence and integration of these values is necessary to bring a constructive frame of interpretation of ecological integrity to guide urban forest management into the future.

Keywords

Urban forests Ecological integrity Urban forest management 

References

  1. Adams LW (2005) Urban wildlife ecology and conservation: A brief history of the discipline. Urban Ecosyst 8(2):139–156CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alberti M, Marzluff JM (2004) Ecological resilience in urban ecosystems: Linking urban patterns to human and ecological functions. Urban Ecosyst 7(3):241–265CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Alberti M, Marzluff JM, Shulenberger E, Bradley G, Ryan C, Zumbrunnen C (2003) Integrating humans into ecology: opportunities and challenges for studying urban ecosystems. Bioscience 53(12):1169–1179CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Alvey AA (2006) Promoting and preserving biodiversity in the urban forest. Urban Forestry and Urban Greening 5(4):195–201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Angermeier PL (1994) Does biodiversity include artificial diversity? Conserv Biol 8(2):600–602CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Angermeier PL, Karr JR (1994) Biological integrity versus biological diversity as policy directives. Bioscience 44(10):690–697CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bengston DN, Xu Z (1995) Changing national forest values: a content analysis. USDA Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station, St. Paul, MN, USA, p 28.Google Scholar
  8. Bornkamm R (2007) Spontaneous development of urban woody vegetation on differing soils. Flora 202:695–704CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Botkin DB, Beveridge CE (1997) Cities as environments. Urban Ecosyst 1(1):3–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Burley S, Robinson SL, Lundholm JT (2008) Post-hurricane vegetation recovery in an urban forest. Landsc Urban Plann 85(2):111–122CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Canada P (2005) Action on the Ground: Ecological Integrity in Canada’s National Parks. Parks Canada, OttawaGoogle Scholar
  12. Cilliers SS, Siebert SJ (2011) Urban flora and vegetation: patterns and processes, Chapter 3.2. In: Niemelä J (ed) Urban Ecology—patterns, processes, and applications. Oxford University Press, New York, pp 148–157Google Scholar
  13. City of Calgary (2007) Calgary… a city of trees, Parks Urban Forest Strategic Plan. The City of Calgary - Parks, Calgary, AB, Canada, p 61. Available at: www.calgary.ca/parks, retrieved: March, 2011.
  14. City of Oakville (2008) Urban forest strategic management plan, town of Oakville: 2008–2027. Urban Forest Innovations Inc. (UFII), Oakville, ON, Canada, pp 70. Available at: www.oakville.ca/forestry.htm, retrieved: December, 2011.
  15. Clemants S, Moore G (2003) Patterns of species richness in eight northeastern United States cities. Urban Habitats 1:4–16Google Scholar
  16. Costanza R, Norton BG, Haskell BD (eds) (1992) Ecosystem health: new goals for environmental management. Island Press, Washington, p 269Google Scholar
  17. Crabbé P, Manno J (2008) Ecological integrity as an emerging global public good. In: Westra L, Bosselmann K, Westra R (eds) Reconciling human existence with ecological integrity. Earthscan, Sterling, pp 73–86Google Scholar
  18. de Groot RS, Wilson MA, Boumans RMJ (2002) A typology for the classification, description and valuation of ecosystem functions, goods and services. Ecol Econ 41(3):393–408CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Dorney JR, Guntenspergen GR, Keough JR, Stearns F (1984) Composition and structure of an urban woody plant community. Urban Ecol 8(1–2):69–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Dunn CP, Henegham L (2011) Composition and diversity of urban vegetation, Chapter 2.4. In: Niemelä J (ed) Urban Ecology—patterns, processes, and applications. Oxford University Press, New York, pp 103–124Google Scholar
  21. Dwyer JF, Nowak DJ, Noble MH (2003) Sustaining urban forests. J Arboriculture 29(1):49–55Google Scholar
  22. Florgård C (2000) Long-term changes in indigenous vegetation preserved in urban areas. Landsc Urban Plann 52(2–3):101–116CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Freedman B, Staicer C, Woodley S (1995) Ecological monitoring and research in greater ecological reserves: a conceptual framework. In: Herman TB, Bondrup‐Nielson S, Willison JHM, Munro NWP (eds). Ecosystem Monitoring and Protected Areas: Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Science and the Management of Protected Areas, held at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, 16‐20 May 1994. Science and Management of Protected Areas Association (SAMPAA), Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada, pp 68–80Google Scholar
  24. Ghilarov AM (2000) Ecosystem functioning and intrinsic value of biodiversity. Oikos 90(2):408–412CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gilbert OL (1989) The ecology of urban habitats. Chapman & Hall, London, p 369CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Girling C, Kellett R (2002) Comparing stormwater impacts and costs on three neighborhood plan types. Landsc J 21(1):100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Godefroid S, Koedam N (2003) Distribution pattern of the flora in a peri-urban forest: an effect of the city–forest ecotone. Landsc Urban Plann 65:169–185CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Guntenspergen GR, Levenson JB (1997) Understory plant species composition in remnant stands along an urban-to-rural land-use gradient. Urban Ecosyst 1(3):155–169CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Heckmann KE, Manley PN, Schlesinger MD (2008) Ecological integrity of remnant montane forests along an urban gradient in the Sierra Nevada. For Ecol Manag 255(7):2453–2466CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Heidt V, Neef M (2008) Benefits of Urban Green Space for Improving Urban Climate. In: Carreiro MM, Song YC, Wu J (eds) Ecology, planning, and management of urban forests: international perspective. Springer, New York, pp 84–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Holling CS (1973) Resilience and stability of ecological systems. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 4(1):1–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Holling CS (1996) Engineering resilience versus ecological resilience. In: Schulze PC (ed) Engineering within ecological constraints. National Academy Press, Washington, pp 31–43Google Scholar
  33. Hope D, Gries C, Zhu W, Fagan WF, Redman CL, Grimm NB, Nelson AM, Martin C, Kinnzig A (2006) Socioeconomic drive urban plant diversity. (Proc Natl Acad Sci 100:8788–8792CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Jim CY, Liu HT (2001) Species diversity of three major urban forest types in Gunagzhou City, China. For Ecol Manag 146:99–114CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. K’Akumu OA (2007) Sustain no city: an ecological conceptualization of urban development. City 11(2):221–228CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Karnosky DF (2009) Dutch elm disease: a review of the history, environmental implications, control, and research needs. Environ Conserv 6(04):311–322CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Karr JR (1992) Ecological integrity: protecting earth’s life support systems. In: Costanza R, Norton BG, Haskell BD (eds) Ecosystem health: new goals for environmental management. Island Press, Washington, pp 223–238Google Scholar
  38. Karr JR (1996) Ecological integrity and ecological health are not the same. In: Schulze PC (ed) Engineering within ecological constraints. National Academy Press, Washington, pp 97–109Google Scholar
  39. Kay JJ (1993) On the nature of ecological integrity: some closing comments. In: Woodley SJ, Kay J, Francis G (eds) Ecological integrity and the management of ecosystems. St. Lucie, Delray Beach, pp 201–215Google Scholar
  40. Kay JJ, Regier HA (2000) Uncertainty, complexity and ecological integrity: insights from an ecosystems approach. In: Crabbé P, Holland AJ, Ryszkowski L, Westra L (eds) Implementing ecological integrity restoring regional and global environmental and human health. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dodrecht, pp 121–156Google Scholar
  41. Kendle AD, Rose JE (2000) The aliens have landed! What are the justifications for native only policies in landscape plantings? Landsc Urban Plann 47(1–2):19–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Kohm KA, Franklin JF (eds) (1997) Creating a forestry for the 21st century: the science of ecosystem management. Island Press, Washington, p 491Google Scholar
  43. Kostel-Hughes F, Young TP, McDonnell MJ (1998) The soil seed bank and its relationship to the aboveground vegetation in deciduous forests in New York City. Urban Ecosyst 2(1):43–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Lackey RT (2001) Values, policy, and ecosystem health. Bioscience 51(6):437–443CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. LaPaix R, Freedman B, Patriquin D (2009) Ground vegetation as an indicator of ecological integrity. Environ Rev 17:249–265CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Latour B (1998) To modernise or ecologise? That is the question. In: Braun B, Castree N (eds) Remaking reality - nature at the millenium. Routledge, London, pp 221–242Google Scholar
  47. Lawson P (2010) Stanley park: myths or reality? Webinar of the Urban Natural Resources Institute (UNRI). Urban Natural Resources Institute (UNRI), AmherstGoogle Scholar
  48. Lovett GM, Mitchell MJ (2004) Sugar maple and nitrogen cycling in the forests of eastern North America. Front Ecol Environ 2(2):81–88CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Lundholm JT, Marlin A (2006) Habitat origins and microhabitat preferences of urban plant species. Urban Ecosyst 9:139–159CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Lyons KG, Schwartz MS (2001) Rare species loss alters ecosystem function – invasion resistance. Ecol Lett 4(4):358–365CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Manuel-Navarrete D, Kay JJ, Dolderman D (2004) Ecological integrity discourses: linking ecology with cultural transformation. Hum Ecol Rev 11(3):215–229Google Scholar
  52. Maurer U, Peschel T, Schmitz S (2000) The flora of selected urban land-use types in Berlin and Potsdam with regard to nature conservation in cities. Landsc Urban Plann 46(4):209–215CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. McCarthy HR, Pataki DE (2010) Drivers of variability in water use of native and non-native urban trees in the greater Los Angeles area. Urban Ecosyst 13:393–414CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. McDonnell MJ, Pickett STA, Groffman P, Bohlen P, Pouyat RV, Zipperer WC, Parmelee RW, Carreiro MM, Medley K (1997) Ecosystem processes along an urban-to-rural gradient. Urban Ecosyst 1(1):21–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. McKinney ML (2002) Urbanization, biodiversity, and conservation. Bioscience 52(10):883–890CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. McKinney ML (2006) Urbanization as a major cause of biotic homogenization. Biol Conserv 127(3):247–260CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Miller P (2000) Approaches to integrity: divergence, convergence and implementation. In: Crabbé P, Holland AJ, Ryszkowski L, Westra L (eds) Implementing ecological integrity restoring regional and global environmental and human health. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, pp 57–76Google Scholar
  58. Miller RH, Miller RW (1991) Planting survival of selected street tree taxa. J Arboriculture 8:13–23Google Scholar
  59. Moffatt S, Kohler N (2008) Conceptualizing the built environment as a social–ecological system. Build Res Inform 36(3):248–268CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Mörtberg UM (2001) Resident bird species in urban forest remnants; landscape and habitat perspectives. Landsc Ecol 16(3):193–203CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Mosquin T (2000) Status and trends in Canadian biodiversity. In: Bocking S (ed) Biodiversity in Canada: ecology, ideas and action. Broadview Press Ltd, Peterborough, pp 59–79Google Scholar
  62. Muller RN, Bornstein C (2010) Maintaining the diversity of California’s municipal forests. Arboriculture & Urban Forestry 36(1):18–27Google Scholar
  63. Niemelä J, Breuste J, Elmqvist T, Guntenspergen G, James P, McIntyre NE (2011) Introduction. In: Niemelä J (ed) Urban Ecology - patterns, processes, and applications. Oxford University Press, New York, pp 1–4Google Scholar
  64. Noss RF (1990) Can we maintain biological and ecological integrity? Conserv Biol 4(3):241–243CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Noss R (1995) Maintaining ecological integrity in representative reserve networks. World Wildlife Fund, TorontoGoogle Scholar
  66. Nowak DJ (1993) Historical vegetation change in Oakland and its implications for urban forest management. J Arboriculture 19(5):313–319Google Scholar
  67. Nowak DJ, Crane DE (2002) Carbon storage and sequestration by urban trees in the USA. Environ Pollut 116(3):381–389PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Nowak DJ, Kuroda M, Crane DE (2004) Tree mortality rates and tree population projections in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening 2(3):139–147CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Nowak DJ, Crane DE, Stevens JC (2006) Air pollution removal by urban trees and shrubs in the United States. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening 4(3–4):115–123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Oleyar MD, Greve AI, Withey JC, Bjorn AM (2008) An integrated approach to evaluating urban forest functionality. Urban Ecosyst 11(3):289–308CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Ordonez C, Duinker PN (2010) Interpreting sustainability for urban forests. Sustainability 2(6):1510–1522CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Ordonez C, Duinker PN (2012) An analysis of urban forest management plans in Canada. ForthcomingGoogle Scholar
  73. Ordonez C, Duinker PN, Steenberg J (2010) Climate change mitigation and adaptation in urban forests: a framework for sustainable urban forest management. Proceedings of the 18th Commonwealth Forestry Conference. Edinburgh, UK, 28Jun–2Jul. Commonwealth Forestry Association, EdinburghGoogle Scholar
  74. Peterson G, Allen CR, Holling CS (1998) Ecological resilience, biodiversity, and scale. Ecosystems 1(1):6–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Pickett STA, Cadenasso ML, Grove JM, Nilon CH, Pouyat RV, Zipperer WC, Costanza R (2001) Urban ecological systems: linking terrestrial ecological, physical, and socioeconomic components of metropolitan areas. Urban Ecology 2:99–122Google Scholar
  76. Pickett STA, Cadenasso ML, Grove JM, Groffman PM, Band LE, Boone CG, Burch WR Jr, Grimmond CSB, Hom J, Jenkins JC, Law NL, Nilon CH, Pouyat RV, Szlavecz K, Warren PS, Wilson MA (2008) Beyond urban legends: an emerging framework of urban ecology, as illustrated by the Baltimore ecosystem study. BioScience 58(2):139–150CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Poland TM, McCullough DG (2006) Emerald ash borer: invasion of the urban forest and the threat to north Americas ash resource. J For 104(3):118–124Google Scholar
  78. Pouyat RV, McDonnell MJ, Pickett STA (1997) Litter decomposition and nitrogen mineralization in oak stands along an urban–rural land use gradient. Urban Ecosyst 1:117–131CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Quigley MF (2004) Street trees and rural conspecifics: will long-lived trees reach full size in urban conditions? Urban Ecosyst 7:29–39CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Roberts PR, Ravetz J, George C (2009) Environment and the city: critical perspectives on the urban environment around the world. Routledge, Abingdon, p 372Google Scholar
  81. Roetzer T, Wittenzeller M, Haeckel H, Nekovar J (2000) Phenology in central Europe–differences and trends of spring phenophases in urban and rural areas. Int J Biometeorol 44(2):60–66PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Rowntree A (1984) Ecology of the urban forest - Introduction to Part I. Urban Ecol 8:1–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Rudd H, Vala J, Schaefer V (2002) Importance of backyard habitat in a comprehensive biodiversity conservation strategy: a connectivity analysis of urban green spaces. Restor Ecol 10(2):368–375CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Sagoff M (1992) Has nature a good of its own? In: Costanza R, Norton BG, Haskell BD (eds) Ecosystem health: new goals for environmental management. Island Press, Washington, pp 57–71Google Scholar
  85. Savard JPL, Clergeau P, Mennechez G (2000) Biodiversity concepts and urban ecosystems. Landsc Urban Plann 48(3–4):131–142CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Schwab J (2009) The principles of an effective urban forestry program. In: Schwab J (ed) Planning the urban forest: ecology, economy, and community development. American Planning Association (APA), Chicago, pp 25–41Google Scholar
  87. Schwartz MW (1997) Defining indigenous species: an introduction. In: Luken JO, Thieret JW (eds) Assessment and management of plant invasions. Springer, New York, pp 7–17CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. SeattleGov (2007) Urban Forest Management Plan. Seattle Government (SeattleGov), Seattle, WA, USA, pp 106. Available at: www.seattle.gov/trees/management.htm, retrieved: March, 2011.
  89. Sieghardt M, Mursch-Radlgruber E, Paoletti E, Couenberg E, Dimitrakopoulus A, Rego F, Hatzistathis A, Randrup TB (2005) The abiotic urban environment: impact of urban growing conditions on urban vegetation. In: Konijnendijk CC, Nilsson K, Randrup TB, Schipperijn JS (eds) Urban Forest & Trees. Springer, Berlin, pp 281–323CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Steedman R, Haider W (1993) Applying notions of ecological integrity. In: Woodley SJ, Kay J, Francis G (eds) Ecological integrity and the management of ecosystems. St. Lucie Press, Delray Beach, pp 47–60Google Scholar
  91. Stewart GH, Ignatieva ME, Meurk CD, Earl RD (2004) The re-emergence of indigenous forest in an urban environment, Christchurch, New Zealand. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening 2(3):149–158CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Stewart GH, Meurkc CD, Ignatieva ME, Buckley HL, Magueur A, Casea BS, Hudson M, Parker M (2009) Urban biotopes of Aotearoa New Zealand (URBANZ) II: floristics, biodiversity and conservation values of urban residential and public woodlands, Christchurch. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening 8(3):149–162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. Tilman D, Knops J, Wedin D, Reich P, Ritchie M, Siemann E (1997) The influence of functional diversity and composition on ecosystem processes. Science 277(5330):1300–1302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. Turner K, Beazley K (2004) An exploration of issues and values inherent in the concept of ecological integrity. Environments 32(2):43–64Google Scholar
  95. Turner K, Lefler L, Freedman B (2005) Plant communities of selected urbanized areas of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Landsc Urban Plann 71:191–206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  96. Tzoulas K, Korpela K, Venn S, Yli-Pelkonen V, Kazmierczak A, Niemela J, James P (2007) Promoting ecosystem and human health in urban areas using Green Infrastructure: a literature review. Landsc Urban Plann 81(3):167–178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  97. Ulrich RS (1999) Effects of gardens on health outcomes: theory and research. In: Marcus CC, Barnes M (eds) Healing Gardens: therapeutic benefits and design recommendations. Wiley, New York, pp 27–86Google Scholar
  98. UN-HABITAT (2010) The state of the world’s cities 10/11-Cities for all: bridging the urban divide. United Nations HABITAT Programme. Earthscan, London, UK, pp 1–224. Available at: www.unhabitat.org/pmss/, retrieved: March, 2011.
  99. Vitousek PM, Hooper DU (1993) Biological diversity and terrestrial ecosystem biogeochemistry. In: Schulze ED, Mooney HA (eds) Biodiversity and ecosystem function. Springer, Berlin, pp 3–14Google Scholar
  100. Ware GH (1994) Ecological bases for selecting urban trees. J Arboriculture 20:98–103Google Scholar
  101. Werner P, Zahner R (2010) Urban patterns and biological diversity: A Review. In: Muller N, Werner P, Kelcey JG (eds) Urban biodiversity & design. Wiley-Blackwell, Hoboken, pp 145–173CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  102. Westra L (1994) An environmental proposal for ethics: the principle of integrity. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. Lanham, Maryland, p 237Google Scholar
  103. Westra L (2008) Ecological integrity: its history, its future and the development of the global ecological integrity group. In: Westra L, Bosselmann K, Westra R (eds) Reconciling human existence with ecological integrity. Earthscan, Sterling, pp 5–20Google Scholar
  104. Yang J (2009) Assessing the impact of climate change on urban tree species selection: a case study in Philadelphia. J For 107(7):364–372Google Scholar
  105. Zhu WX, Carreiro MM (2004) Temporal and spatial variations in nitrogen transformations in deciduous forest ecosystems along an urban–rural gradient. Soil Biol Biochem 36(2):267–278CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  106. Zipperer WC (2011) Linking social and ecological systems, Chapter 5.5. In: Niemelä J (ed) Urban Ecology - patterns, processes, and applications. Oxford University Press, New York, pp 298–308Google Scholar
  107. Zipperer WC, Sisinni SM, Pouyat RV, Foresman TW (1997) Urban tree cover: an ecological perspective. Urban Ecosyst 1:229–246CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School for Resource and Environmental StudiesDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada

Personalised recommendations