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Conceptualizing social-ecological drivers of change in urban forest patches


Lea R. Johnson
Myla F. J. Aronson
Megan E. Carr
Mysha Clarke
Lindsay Darling
Tedward Erker
Robert T. Fahey
Kristen L. King
Katherine Lautar
Anita T. Morzillo
Luke Rhodes
John Paul Schmit
Lydia Scott
Nancy F. Sonti



Publication type:

Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Primary Station(s):

Northern Research Station


Urban Ecosystems


We introduce a conceptual model of the urban forest patch as a complex social-ecological system, incorporating cross-scale interactions. We developed this model through an interdisciplinary process engaging social and ecological scientists and urban land management decision makers, with a focus on temperate forest social-ecological systems. In this paper, we place the production and management of urban forest patches in historical perspective, present a conceptual model of urban forest patches within a broader regional context, and identify a series of research questions to highlight future directions for research on urban forest patches. This conceptual model identifies how spatial and temporal social-ecological drivers interact with patch-level conditions at multiple scales. Our integrative approach can provide insights into the role of social-ecological drivers in shaping forest health, biodiversity, and benefits forest patches provide to people in urban and urbanizing regions, with direct implications for decision-making to improve management outcomes.


Johnson, Lea R.; Johnson, Michelle L.; Aronson, Myla F. J.; Campbell, Lindsay K.; Carr, Megan E.; Clarke, Mysha; D’Amico, Vincent; Darling, Lindsay; Erker, Tedward; Fahey, Robert T.; King, Kristen L.; Lautar, Katherine; Locke, Dexter H.; Morzillo, Anita T.; Pincetl, Stephanie; Rhodes, Luke; Schmit, John Paul; Scott, Lydia; Sonti, Nancy F. 2020. Conceptualizing social-ecological drivers of change in urban forest patches. Urban Ecosystems. 125: 254-.


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