Baltimore Ecosystem Study Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2016 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

Regional urbanization and the effects on the ecosystem net primary production: A comparative study on the United States and China
Yu, Wenjuan
Co-Authors: Weiqi Zhou, J. Morgan Grove, Nancy F. Sonti

Abstract: Urban megaregions have emerged as a new form of urbanization. This new form physically covers not only spatially proximal urban areas but also the intervening suburban and exurban regions. These urban, suburban and exurban areas are linked by social processes including land cover change, population migration, environmental policy initiatives, and lifestyle changes. Over time, these social drivers may influence vegetation structure and ecosystem productivity throughout the megaregion. Especially, the increasing interest in the positive effect of the social processes become more important for improving the human sustainability. In this study, we examine changes over time (2000-2010) in ecosystem Net Primary Production (NPP) in across urban megaregions. In order to achieve this objective, we choose three representative urban megaregions in both developed and developing countries as our study areas: the northeast urban megaregion in the US and the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei and Yangtze River Delta urban megaregions in China. We then focus on two research questions: 1) How does land cover change affect NPP? 2) How do social processes impact NPP throughout the megaregions? Our results in China show that the NPP significantly decreased over time in areas with an increase in developed land cover. However, NPP increased in both urban areas and areas with no significant land cover change. Next, we will investigate the social processes that may be causing this positive effect on NPP of urban areas.