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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: The changing landscape: ecosystem responses to urbanization and pollution across climatic and societal gradients

Authors
item Grimm, Nancy - ARIZONA STATE UNIV.
item Foster, David - HARVARD UNIV
item Groffman, Peter - INST. FOR ECOSYSTEM STUDI
item Grove, J. Morgan - US FOREST SERVICE
item Hopkinson, Charles - MARINE BIOLOGICAL LAB
item Nadelhoffer, Knute - UNIV OF MICHIGAN
item Pataki, Diane - UNIV OF CALIF, IRVINE
item Peters, Debra

Submitted to: Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 14, 2008
Publication Date: June 10, 2008
Citation: Grimm, N.B., Foster, D., Groffman, P., Grove, J., Hopkinson, C.E., Nadelhoffer, K., Pataki, D.E., Peters, D.C. 2008. The changing landscape: ecosystem responses to urbanization and pollution across climatic and societal gradients. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. 6(5):264-272.

Interpretive Summary: Human activities are increasingly recognized as critical drivers of ecosystem dynamics through the effects on land use patterns and inputs of pollutants to water and air. These activities occur throughout the continental US. Their impacts depend on interactions with local, landscape, and regional variation in climate, soil properties, human demographic variation, and the connections among spatial units in the flow of energy, materials, and information tion flow. We propose six testable hypotheses about local to continental effects of urbanization and pollution as an approach to synthesizing fine to broad scale impacts of human activities in ecosystems.

Technical Abstract: Urbanization alters both biotic and abiotic ecosystem properties within, surrounding and even at great distances from urban areas. This creates research challenges and environmental problems at local, regional, and global scales. Ecosystem responses to land changes are complex and interacting, occurring on all scales as a consequence of connectivity of resources, energy, and information among social, physical and biological systems. We propose six hypotheses about local to continental effects of urbanization and pollution and an approach for research, education and outreach efforts to test them. This approach focuses on analysis of “Megapolitan” areas that have emerged across North America, but also includes diverse wildland– urban gradients and spatially continuous coverage of land change. Concerted and coordinated monitoring of land change and accompanying ecosystem responses coupled with simulation models will permit robust forecasts of how land change and human settlement patterns will alter ecosystem services and resource utilization at the continental scale.

Last Modified: 10/24/2014