Baltimore Ecosystem Study Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2011 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

"A tale of two systems": comparative results for vegetation functional diversity for "Clean & Green" and unmanaged vacant lots
Williams, Yvette

Abstract: The variable conditions and histories of vacant lots in urban landscapes offer unique opportunities to study vegetation dynamics. Community gardens, "Clean & Green" and unmanaged lots represent a continuum in terms of vegetation management. For this oral presentation, two of three vacant lot management systems, "Clean & Green" and unmanaged lots will be discussed. The study hypothesizes that management is a key driver of vegetation functional diversity for vacant lots and predicts that vacant lots receiving more management will have higher functional diversity. Vegetation functional diversity is defined as groups of species that assemble together based on life history traits in response to management and disturbance. As a step toward testing the hypothesis, a Canonical Discriminate Analysis (CDA) was conducted to determine if discriminatory differences exist between the two types of vacant lots. Results indicate significant discrimination between the two types of vacant lots. To explore relationships between management activities and species abundances, a correspondence analysis was conducted. For this analysis, abundance estimates for sixteen species found at both types of lots were coupled with Baltimore City management data for these lots. A chi-square analysis indicated that approximately 50 % of the associations are accounted for within the first three dimensions. A further analysis of vacant lot variables (e.g., age, size, environmental conditions), and other management information is expected to shed additional light on sources of variation and functional diversity.