2005 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts
Wyman Park as a Case Study of an Ecological Assessment of an Urban Natural Area
Pouyat, R.V., E. Schmitt, F. Spero, and A. Draddy
Abstract: Natural areas in urban settings are usually mosaics of many vegetation types and often reflect more than 100 years of human disturbance. Traditional sampling methods, such as line transects, rarely capture the full diversity of these sites. However, during the 1980’s, a classification system, called, “entitation,” designed specifically for urban park assessments was developed and employed in New York City Parks to map a number of parks containing extensive unmanaged areas. This poster reports on the use of entitation as a case study for the Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks. Using entitation, the site is mapped as a series of vegetation types called “entities.” Entitation produces a map of the entire site by using a set of generalized plant communities, based on covertype, dominant species, and understory composition. In contrast, transect methods produce a series of detailed, but isolated, samples that can miss important features of a landscape (e.g., a small patch of an invasive plant). The entitation method is based on an ecological classification developed by Ellenburg and Mueller-Dombois (1967). We have updated this mapping tool using GIS technology, and applied to Wyman Park, a 40 acre park in Baltimore City. This inventory produced almost 70 distinct ecological entities within the park, documenting patterns of disturbance, invasion, and restoration throughout the park, and providing a template for future management plans.