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  • 1
    Language: English
    In: Environmental Pollution, 2011, Vol.159(8), pp.1974-1983
    Description: With increasing urbanization the importance of cities for biodiversity conservation grows. This paper reviews the ways in which biodiversity is affected by urbanization and discusses the consequences of different conservation approaches. Cities can be richer in plant species, including in native species, than rural areas. Alien species can lead to both homogenization and differentiation among urban regions. Urban habitats can harbor self-sustaining populations of rare and endangered native species, but cannot replace the complete functionality of (semi-)natural remnants. While many conservation approaches tend to focus on such relict habitats and native species in urban settings, this paper argues for a paradigm shift towards considering the whole range of urban ecosystems. Although conservation attitudes may be challenged by the novelty of some urban ecosystems, which are often linked to high numbers of nonnative species, it is promising to consider their associated ecosystem services, social benefits, and possible contribution to biodiversity conservation. ► This paper reviews biotic responses to urbanization and urban conservation approaches. ► Cities may be rich in both native and nonnative species. ► Urban habitats cannot replace the functionality of natural remnants. ► However, even novel urban habitats may harbour rare and endangered species. ► Conservation approaches should consider the perspective of novel urban ecosystems. This paper reviews the ways in which biodiversity is affected by urbanization and argues for expanding urban conservation approaches.
    Keywords: Biodiversity Loss ; Biological Invasions ; Exotic Species ; Nature Conservation ; Ecosystem Services ; Engineering ; Environmental Sciences ; Anatomy & Physiology
    ISSN: 0269-7491
    E-ISSN: 1873-6424
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  • 2
    In: Journal of Applied Ecology, September 2018, Vol.55(5), pp.2354-2361
    Description: In a rapidly urbanising world, the ability of plant species to survive and build self‐sustaining populations in urban environments is increasingly important for biodiversity conservation. Yet, the contribution of cities to biodiversity conservation remains unclear because ecologists have studied biodiversity patterns, largely without considering the population establishment of plants and the ways in which different kinds of urban ecosystems harbour native and endangered plant species. These limitations can mislead conservation policies for cities. To better understand how urban ecosystems can contribute to biodiversity conservation, we propose a framework that links the population status (casual or established) of plant species with ecosystem novelty and highlights barriers to population establishment in different types of urban ecosystems, from natural remnants to novel ecosystems. To quantify the relative importance of natural remnants vs. human‐shaped ecosystems for the conservation of self‐sustaining urban plant populations. we re‐analyse a unique dataset from a metropolitan region in Europe with information on the population status of 1,199 plant species. Results demonstrate that urban ecosystems harbour many established native and endangered species although a considerable share (37%) of species of conservation concern are confined to natural remnants. In hybrid and immature novel ecosystems, high species numbers reflect many species with only casual populations. The role of novel ecosystems as habitats for native and endangered plant species increases as novel ecosystems mature. Synthesis and applications. General information about plant species richness in urban environments may mislead conservation policies as different kinds of urban ecosystems can play different roles in harbouring species of conservation concern. Moreover, presence/absence data can mask establishment failures of species. This proposed framework helps to distinguish between casual and established populations of plant species, and highlights barriers to population persistence in urban ecosystems, reflecting different land uses and land use histories over time. Revealing the role of natural remnants vs. hybrid vs. novel ecosystems as habitats for species of conservation concern illustrates opportunities for biodiversity conservation in all urban ecosystems and can support setting priorities for conservation. General information about plant species richness in urban environments may mislead conservation policies as different kinds of urban ecosystems can play different roles in harbouring species of conservation concern. Moreover, presence/absence data can mask establishment failures of species. This proposed framework helps to distinguish between casual and established populations of plant species, and highlights barriers to population persistence in urban ecosystems, reflecting different land uses and land use histories over time. Revealing the role of natural remnants vs. hybrid vs. novel ecosystems as habitats for species of conservation concern illustrates opportunities for biodiversity conservation in all urban ecosystems and can support setting priorities for conservation.
    Keywords: Alien Plant Species ; Biodiversity Conservation ; Endangered Species ; Novel Ecosystems ; Plant Species Richness ; Population Establishment ; Urban Land Use ; Urbanisation
    ISSN: 0021-8901
    E-ISSN: 1365-2664
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  • 3
    In: PLoS ONE, 2015, Vol.10(9)
    Description: Biological invasions are a major threat to biodiversity; however, the degree of impact can vary depending on the ecosystem and taxa. Here, we test whether a top invader at a global scale, the tree Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust or false acacia), which is known to profoundly change site conditions, significantly affects urban animal diversity. As a first multi-taxon study of this kind, we analyzed the effects of Robinia dominance on 18 arthropod taxa by pairwise comparisons of woodlands in Berlin, Germany, that were dominated by R . pseudoacacia or the native pioneer tree Betula pendula . As a negative effect, abundances of five arthropod taxa decreased (Chilopoda, Formicidae, Diptera, Heteroptera, Hymenoptera); 13 others were not affected. Woodland type affected species composition of carabids and functional groups in spiders, but surprisingly did not decrease alpha and beta diversity of carabid and spider assemblages or the number of endangered species. Tree invasion thus did not induce biotic homogenization at the habitat scale. We detected no positive effects of alien dominance. Our results illustrate that invasions by a major tree invader can induce species turnover in ground-dwelling arthropods, but do not necessarily reduce arthropod species abundances or diversity and might thus contribute to the conservation of epigeal invertebrates in urban settings. Considering the context of invasion impacts thus helps to set priorities in managing biological invasions and can illustrate the potential of novel ecosystems to maintain urban biodiversity.
    Keywords: Research Article
    E-ISSN: 1932-6203
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  • 4
    Language: English
    In: Environmental Pollution, March, 2014, Vol.186, p.234(7)
    Description: To link to full-text access for this article, visit this link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2013.12.011 Byline: Frauke Weber, Ingo Kowarik, Ina Saumel Abstract: Among air pollutants, particulate matter (PM) is considered to be the most serious threat to human health. Plants provide ecosystem services in urban areas, including reducing levels of PM by providing a surface for deposition and immobilization. While previous studies have mostly addressed woody species, we focus on herbaceous roadside vegetation and assess the role of species traits such as leaf surface roughness or hairiness for the immobilization of PM. We found that PM deposition patterns on plant surfaces reflect site-specific traffic densities and that strong differences in particulate deposition are present among species. The amount of immobilized PM differed according to particle type and size and was related to specific plant species traits. Our study suggests that herbaceous vegetation immobilizes a significant amount of the air pollutants relevant to human health and that increasing biodiversity of roadside vegetation supports air filtration and thus healthier conditions along street corridors. Author Affiliation: (a) Department of Ecology, Chair of Ecosystem Science/Plant Ecology, Technische Universitat Berlin, Rothenburgstr. 12, D-12165 Berlin, Germany (b) Berlin-Brandenburg Institute of Advanced Biodiversity Research (BBIB), 14195 Berlin, Germany (c) Department of Ecology, Chair of Ecological Impact Research and Ecotoxicology, Technische Universitat Berlin, Ernst Reuter Platz 1, D-10587 Berlin, Germany Article History: Received 24 October 2013; Revised 12 December 2013; Accepted 15 December 2013
    Keywords: Pollutants ; Plants (Organisms) ; College Faculty ; Air Pollution ; Ecosystems
    ISSN: 0269-7491
    Source: Cengage Learning, Inc.
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  • 5
    Language: English
    In: Forest Ecology and Management, March 1, 2013, Vol.291, p.396(8)
    Description: To link to full-text access for this article, visit this link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2012.11.021 Byline: Fritz Kleinschroth (a), Caspar Schoning (b), James B. Kung'u (c), Ingo Kowarik (a), Arne Cierjacks (a) Keywords: Logging; Mountain forest; Mount Kenya; Regeneration; Root sucker; Seedling Abstract: a* Regeneration in Ocotea usambarensis is low 10years after logging cessation. a* Small trees are absent in formerly heavily logged areas. a* Root suckers are more abundant than seedlings. a* Vegetative regeneration and historical logging are negatively correlated. a* Enrichment plantings are recommended for forest recovery. Author Affiliation: (a) Department of Ecology, Ecosystem Science/Plant Ecology, Technische Universitat Berlin, Rothenburgstr. 12, 12165 Berlin, Germany (b) Functional Biodiversity, Dahlem Centre of Plant Sciences, Institut fur Biologie, Freie Universitat Berlin, Konigin-Luise-Str. 1-3, 14195 Berlin, Germany (c) Department of Environmental Sciences, Kenyatta University, P.O. Box 43844, 00100 Nairobi, Kenya Article History: Received 21 July 2012; Revised 13 November 2012; Accepted 18 November 2012
    Keywords: Timber ; Logging ; Ecosystems
    ISSN: 0378-1127
    Source: Cengage Learning, Inc.
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  • 6
    Language: English
    In: Biodiversity and Conservation, 2010, Vol.19(13), pp.3769-3797
    Description: The conservation of biodiversity is a major goal in nature conservation, but measuring the total biodiversity of a site or a region is not possible; thus there is a great demand for indicators to represent biodiversity. To be able to make use of indicators, criteria must first be established for their selection, and the degree to which the indicators meet the criteria must be tested. However, the purposes for which indicators are applied—and thus sometimes the criteria themselves—differ between ecological science and environmental policy. As transparency in choosing and testing suitable biodiversity indicators will optimize the results of an indicator, this article first aims to determine if there are common approaches in selecting biodiversity indicators in ecology and environmental policy. Second, we asked which criteria biodiversity indicators were scientifically tested against to determine their suitability. To answer these questions, we analyzed papers on biodiversity indicators referenced in the Web of Science. Our results demonstrate different patterns for selecting biodiversity indicators in the different fields of application. In ecology, the quality of indicators is mainly determined by a close relationship between indicator and indicandum (i.e., indicated phenomenon), while the relevance of an indicator for a given issue, e.g., reserve selection or an assessment of a certain impact, is of paramount importance for conservation policy. Surprisingly, few biodiversity indicators are empirically tested to determine if they meet the criteria by which they were purportedly chosen. We argue that this is due to the different conceptualizations of biodiversity indicators in science and environmental policy. Since the suitability of biodiversity indicators remains untested in many cases, our findings suggest room to make better use of indicators in ecology and environmental policy. As the results of ecological research are put to use to solve environmental problems, the selection of indicators for ecological research should correspond to a large extent with those used in environmental policy. Further, to assess the suitability of a biodiversity indicator, it should be tested against all of the criteria relevant for its selection.
    Keywords: Evaluation ; Indication ; Decision-making ; Biodiversity ; Conservation ; Selection criteria
    ISSN: 0960-3115
    E-ISSN: 1572-9710
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  • 7
    Language: English
    In: Plant and Soil, 2013, Vol.370(1), pp.497-509
    Description: Aims: We analysed current carbon (C) stocks in fine root and aboveground biomass of riparian forests and influential environmental parameters on either side of a dike in the Donau-Auen National Park, Austria. Methods: On both sides of the dike, carbon (C) stock of fine roots (CFR) under four dominant tree species and of aboveground biomass (CAB) were assessed by topsoil cores (0-30 cm) and angle count sampling method respectively (n=48). C stocks were modeled, performing boosted regression trees (BRT). Results: Overall CFR was 2.8 t ha super(-1), with significantly higher C stocks in diked (DRF) compared to flooded riparian forests (FRF). In contrast to CFR, mean CAB was 123 t ha super(-1) and lower in DRF compared to FRF. However, dike construction was consistently ruled out as a predictor variable in BRT. CFR was influenced by the distance to the Danube River and the dominant tree species. CAB was mainly influenced by the magnitude of fluctuations in the groundwater table and the distances to the river and the low groundwater table. Conclusions: Despite pronounced differences in FRF and DRF, we conclude that there is only weak support that dikes directly influence C allocation in floodplain forests within the time scale considered (110 years).
    Keywords: Aboveground biomass ; Belowground biomass ; Carbon distribution ; Carbon sequestration ; Dike ; Ecosystem services ; Floodplain forest
    ISSN: 0032-079X
    E-ISSN: 1573-5036
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  • 8
    Language: English
    In: Plant and Soil, 2013, Vol.371(1), pp.629-640
    Description: Background and aims: Various studies address changes in nitrogen and carbon cycling by exotic plant species, while impacts on phosphorus cycling are understudied. Therefore, we assessed the effects of the introduced Cinchona pubescens Vahl on plant and soil nutrients (especially phosphorus) in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos. Methods: Nutrient analyses were carried out on soil, leaf litter, and leaf samples taken from Cinchona, the endemic shrub Miconia robinsoniana Cogn. and the native fern Pteridium arachnoideum (Kaulf.) Maxon. in plots invaded and previously invaded by Cinchona. Results: Cinchona contained significantly more nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in its green leaves than Miconia. Surprisingly, there was no evidence of phosphorus resorption in senesced Cinchona leaves. This was also the case in Miconia leaves, but only in Cinchona-invaded plots. Specific leaf area of Cinchona was significantly higher than of Miconia and Pteridium leaves, as was its litter turnover rate. Total soil nitrogen, ammonium and available phosphorus concentrations were higher in the invaded plots. Leaf litter from these plots also contained more phosphorus, which was positively correlated with the phosphorus concentrations in the soil. Conclusions: These results suggest enhanced nutrient uptake by Cinchona and a faster decomposition of its litter, leading to increased nutrient availability in the soil. An accelerated cycling could promote spread of Cinchona and other introduced species, increasing the risk of further displacement of indigenous plant species in the Santa Cruz highlands.
    Keywords: Biological invasion ; Conservation ; Ecological impacts ; Ecosystem functioning ; Nutrient resorption proficiency ; Phosphorus
    ISSN: 0032-079X
    E-ISSN: 1573-5036
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  • 9
    Language: English
    In: Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, January 2018, Vol.29, pp.336-347
    Description: The concept of urban wilderness feels like a paradox since natural and urban environments have long been viewed as antithetical. Today, however, wilderness is high on the urban agenda as a response to different challenges: biodiversity and human experiences of nature are being lost in increasingly dense cities, while at the same time a plethora of wild areas are developing in cities that are undergoing post-industrial transformation. Yet there is confusion around the definitions and the anticipated functions of urban wilderness and how humans can be incorporated therein. A unifying framework is proposed here that envisions urban wilderness as a social-ecological system; three major components are identified and linked: (i) the supply of wilderness areas along gradients of naturalness and ecological novelty, leading to a differentiation of ancient vs. novel wilderness, and the identification of wilderness components within cultural ecosystems; (ii) the demand for wilderness in urban societies, which differs among sociocultural groups as a function of underlying values and experiences; (iii) the access to urban wilderness, which can be improved both in terms of providing opportunities for encountering urban wilderness (e.g., by conserving, rewilding wilderness areas) and enhancing the orientation of urban people towards wilderness (e.g., through information, environmental education, citizen science). Evidence from urban wilderness projects in Europe demonstrates that multi-targeted approaches to conserving and managing existing novel urban ecosystems offer manifold opportunities to combine biodiversity conservation and wilderness experience in cities.
    Keywords: Brownfield ; Conservation Areas ; Habitat Management ; Naturalness ; Restoration ; Urban Ecosystems ; Urban Forest ; Wasteland ; Wildland ; Agriculture ; Architecture
    ISSN: 1618-8667
    E-ISSN: 1610-8167
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  • 10
    In: Conservation Biology, June 2010, Vol.24(3), pp.675-681
    Description: .
    Keywords: Biological Invasions ; Environmental Damage ; Gm Crops ; Impact Assessment ; Invasive Species ; Risk Assessment ; Cultivos Mg ; Daño Ambiental ; Especies Invasoras ; Evaluación De Impacto ; Evaluación De Riesgo ; Invasiones Biológicas
    ISSN: 0888-8892
    E-ISSN: 1523-1739
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