[MCN] Evidence of longer growing season in urban than rural areas

Lance Olsen lance at wildrockies.org
Wed Apr 6 10:37:24 EDT 2016

Ecology and Evolution  April 2016
DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1990

The extent of shifts in vegetation phenology between rural and urban 
areas within a human-dominated region
Martin Dallimer,
Sustainability Research Institute, School of Earth and Environment, 
University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
Zhiyao Tang,
Department of Ecology, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, 
Peking University, Beijing, China
Kevin J. Gaston,
CEnvironment and Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter, 
Penryn, Cornwall, UK
Zoe G. Davies
Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE), School of 
Anthropology and Conservation, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, 

Abstract (Free, open access article)

Urbanization is one of the major environmental challenges facing the 
world today. One of its particularly pressing effects is alterations 
to local and regional climate through, for example, the Urban Heat 
Island. Such changes in conditions are likely to have an impact on 
the phenology of urban vegetation, which will have knock-on 
implications for the role that urban green infrastructure can play in 
delivering multiple ecosystem services. Here, in a human-dominated 
region, we undertake an explicit comparison of vegetation phenology 
between urban and rural zones. Using satellite-derived MODIS-EVI data 
from the first decade of the 20th century, we extract metrics of 
vegetation phenology (date of start of growing season, date of end of 
growing season, and length of season) for Britain's 15 largest cities 
and their rural surrounds. On average, urban areas experienced a 
growing season 8.8 days longer than surrounding rural zones. As would 
be expected, there was a significant decline in growing season length 
with latitude (by 3.4 and 2.4 days/degree latitude in rural and urban 
areas respectively). Although there is considerable variability in 
how phenology in urban and rural areas differs across our study 
cities, we found no evidence that built urban form influences the 
start, end, or length of the growing season. However, the difference 
in the length of the growing season between rural and urban areas was 
significantly negatively associated with the mean disposable 
household income for a city. Vegetation in urban areas deliver many 
ecosystem services such as temperature mitigation, pollution removal, 
carbon uptake and storage, the provision of amenity value for humans 
and habitat for biodiversity. Given the rapid pace of urbanization 
and ongoing climate change, understanding how vegetation phenology 
will alter in the future is important if we wish to be able to manage 
urban greenspaces effectively.
"Booms have consequences."

James Grant. Money of the Mind : Borrowing and Lending in America 
from the Civil War to Michael Milken. Farrar Straus Giroux. 1992.

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