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Exploring past, current and future socio-ecological
dynamics in a founding city

 
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RESEARCH PROJECTS
 

AVIAN DIVERSITY and GREENING PROJECTS in BOSTON:

With the help of volunteer birders we studied bird diversity within small-scale green spaces in Boston to assess the value of urban greening initiatives for supporting and conserving biodiversity. We compared birds present at sites that have been greened by the CityRoots program at the Urban Ecology Institute to birds present at random sites 200m away and in three major parks: Franklin Park, the Arnold Arboretum and Stonybrook Reservation.

Strohbach, M.W., Lerman, S.B., Warren, P.S. (2013) Are small greening areas enhancing bird diversity? Insights from community-driven greening projects in Boston, Landscape and Urban Planning, Volume 114(2), 69-79 pp.

URBAN-RURAL GRADIENTS in MASSACHUSETTS:
We studied how land use policy affects land use and land cover change along two urban-rural gradients in Massachusetts. Non-profit (land trust) involvement and professional staffing in planning departments were key factors in the success of land conservation efforts in towns.

Warren, P.S., Ryan, R.L., Lerman, S.B., Tooke, K.A. (2011) Social and institutional factors associated with land use and forest conservation along two urban gradients in Massachusetts, Landscape and Urban Planning, Volume 102(2), 82-92 pp.

BIRD MONITORING:

See what bird species were found:

ARTHROPOD MONITORING:
Summer 2010: At the same sites as we observed birds, we have collected arthropods using pitfall traps.

Summer 2011: A paired study of community gardens and vacant lots in southern Boston, was conducted using pitfall traps.

BEHAVIORAL OBSERVATIONS and INTERVIEWS: Summer & Fall 2010 through summer 2011
Within the same 12 census block groups, we have observed human behavior at greened sites and non-greened sites to understand how urban greening affects use and behavior patterns within urban spaces. We are interviewing local residents and stakeholders to compliment and further inform observations.

LAND COVER MAPPING and OBSERVATIONS: Summer & Fall 2010
We have conducted sidewalk surveys of vegetation and land use on private residential parcels in both the Plum Island Estuary and Boston. In addition to these snapshots, we are using GIS and 2009 orthophotography to map land covers in the two areas.

SCENARIO DEVELOPMENT AND MODELLING: ongoing
We develop and model possible future landscape change and greening scenarios for the Metro Boston region.

 
 
 
 
 
 
Lenox comunity garden
Lenox community garden in Roxbury, Boston
 
pitfall trap
Pitfall trap in community garden
 
land cover
High resolution land cover in Boston