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    Author(s): Rico Gazal; Michael A. White; Robert Gillies; Eli Rodemakers; Elena Sparrow; Leslie Gordon
    Date: 2008
    Source: Global Change Biology. 14(7): 1568-1580
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    PDF: View PDF  (1.27 MB)


    The urban heat island effect, classically associated with high impervious surface area (ISA), low vegetation fractional cover (Fr), and high land surface temperature (LST), has been linked to changing patterns of vegetation phenology, especially spring growth. In this study, a collaboration with the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) program, we investigated the effect of the urban environment on the timing of leaf budburst of native deciduous trees in seven cities: Asia (Tokyo, Japan; Bangkok and Korat, Thailand), Europe (Jyvaskyla, Finland; Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan), Africa (Dakar, Senegal), and North America (Fairbanks, Alaska). The cities differed not only in population size but also in climate and vegetation type. Using Landsat satellite imagery from each city, we calculated LST, Fr, and ISA, and classified sites within each study area as rural or urban. The timing of leaf flushing, measured by students using GLOBE budburst protocols, was statistically different within all cities, with absolute differences ranging from 1 to 23 days. We assessed the classic urban phenology paradigm, which proposes higher LST, lower Fr, and earlier budburst in urban areas of temperate cities. Of the four temperate cities, Tokyo followed the classic paradigm, but no other city demonstrated consistent support. Urban budburst was advanced in three of the four temperate cities, but in only one of the three tropical cities. Results suggest that while vegetation phenology is consistently different between urban and rural areas, a uniform paradigm based on the explanatory variables in this study did not emerge. Although not testable here, it is likely that alterations to chilling requirements in temperate climates and humidity in tropical climates may also influence observed budburst differences.

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    Gazal, Rico; White, Michael A.; Gillies, Robert; Rodemakers, Eli; Sparrow, Elena; Gordon, Leslie. 2008. GLOBE students, teachers, and scientists demonstrate variable differences between urban and rural leaf phenology. Global Change Biology. 14(7): 1568-1580.


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    budbreak, climate change, growing season, heat island, leaf out, seasonality, spring, urbanization

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