Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Project Profile: Urban Ecology

By Ashley Golphin 

Whereas most of the 2011 Harvard Forest REU group conducted research in rural forested areas, my research partner Stephan Bradley and I braved the streets of inner-city Boston to expand our understanding of how urban ecosystems function with regards to urban greening. 

Urban greening is the expansion and conservation of vegetated areas in cities through local stewardship practices. For this study we choose 7 urban green sites (community gardens and pocket parks) and paired them with 7 nearby non-green sites (abandoned lots) to explore how human use patterns, along with related measures of biodiversity (i.e. macroinvertebrate and avian population) and temperature differ between urban green and non-green space. We found that there was a statistically significant difference in human behavior at between the sites with people being far more engaged with the green sites than the non-green sites. Data analysis for biodiversity measures are ongoing.

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