Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): Lara A. Roman; Hamil Pearsall; Theodore S. Eisenman; Tenley M. Conway; Robert T. Fahey; Shawn Landry; Jess Vogt; Natalie S. van DoornJ. Morgan GroveDexter H. Locke; Adrina C. Bardekjian; John J. Battles; Mary L. Cadenasso; Cecil C. Konijnendijk van den Bosch; Meghan Avolio; Adam Berland; G. Darrel Jenerette; Sarah K. Mincey; Diane E. Pataki; Christina Staudhammer
    Date: 2018
    Source: Urban Forestry & Urban Greening
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Northern Research Station
    PDF: View PDF  (1.0 MB)

    Description

    Understanding how urban forests developed their current patterns of tree canopy cover, species composition, and diversity requires an appreciation of historical legacy effects. However, analyses of current urban forest characteristics are often limited to contemporary socioeconomic factors, overlooking the role of history. The institutions, human communities, and biophysical conditions of cities change over time, creating layers of legacies on the landscape, shifting urban forests through complex interactive processes and feedbacks. Urban green spaces and planted trees can persist long after their establishment, meaning that today’s mature canopy reflects conditions and decisions from many years prior. In this synthesis article, we discuss some of the major historical human and biophysical drivers and associated legacy effects expressed in present urban forest patterns, highlighting examples in the United States and Canada. The bioregional context – native biome, climate, topography, initial vegetation, and pre-urbanization land use – represents the initial conditions in which a city established and grew, and this context influences how legacy effects unfold. Human drivers of legacy effects can reflect specific historical periods: colonial histories related to the symbolism of certain species, and the urban parks and civic beautification movements. Other human drivers include phenomena that cut across time periods such as neighborhood urban form and socioeconomic change. Biophysical legacy effects include the consequences of past disturbances such as extreme weather events and pest and disease outbreaks. Urban tree professionals play a major role in many legacy effects by mediating the interactions and feedbacks between biophysical and human drivers. We emphasize the importance of historical perspectives to understand past drivers that have produced current urban forest patterns, and call for interdisciplinary and mixed methods research to unpack the mechanisms of long-term urban forest change at intra- and inter-city scales.

    Publication Notes

    • Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
    • Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat.
    • During the capture process some typographical errors may occur.
    • Please contact Sharon Hobrla, shobrla@fs.fed.us if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

    Citation

    Roman, Lara A.; Pearsall, Hamil; Eisenman, Theodore S.; Conway, Tenley M.; Fahey, Robert T.; Landry, Shawn; Vogt, Jess; van Doorn, Natalie S.; Grove, J. Morgan; Locke, Dexter H.; Bardekjian, Adrina C.; Battles, John J.; Cadenasso, Mary L.; van den Bosch, Cecil C. Konijnendijk; Avolio, Meghan; Berland, Adam; Jenerette, G. Darrel; Mincey, Sarah K.; Pataki, Diane E.; Staudhammer, Christina. 2018. Human and biophysical legacies shape contemporary urban forests: A literature synthesis. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening. 31: 157-168. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ufug.2018.03.004.

    Cited

    Google Scholar

    Keywords

    Historical ecology, Legacy effect, Social-ecological system, Tree diversity, Urban ecology, Urban tree canopy

    Related Search


    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page
https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/56212