Baltimore Ecosystem Study Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2016 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

The Baltimore School of Urban Ecology goes on the road: landscape structure and vegetation in front and back yards
Locke, Dexter
Co-Authors: J. Morgan Grove, PhD.

Abstract: The Baltimore school of urban ecology examines patterns and processes of urban and urbanizing regions, and the fundamental principles of the approach are rapidly extending beyond the BES. The twice-funded Ecological Homogenization of Urban America project exemplifies the growth of The School. This talk demonstrates how the multi-scale, mixed methods, socio-ecological approach (espoused by The School) can be used to empirically test theories about private residential land management in Boston, Miami, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, and - of course - Baltimore. Specifically the differences in land cover composition in front and back residential yards are examined for differences within parcels and across block groups and regions. Plot-based data on vegetation species evenness, the ratios of cultivated to spontaneous species, and introduced to natives are also compared between front (visible, public) and back yards (less-visible, private) and analyzed within and across sites. In-depth interviews with 41 residents in 7 neighborhoods both support and refute the quantitative evidence. Implications for theories about social norms the future and diffusion of The School's paradigm will also be discussed.