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BES

Islands of Green

BES scientists have found that cities are more biologically diverse than commonly thought and that large green spaces, small parks, yards, and vacant lands shelter new species of soil invertebrates, rare plants, and significant bird diversity. These studies underscore the importance of maintaining islands of green in urbanizing landscapes.

Boone, C.G., M.L. Cadenasso, J.M. Grove, K. Schwarz, G.L. Buckley. 2010. Landscape, vegetation characteristics, and group identity in an urban and suburban watershed: why the 60s matter. Urban Ecosystems 13:255-271.
Davis CA. 1999. Plant Surveys and Searches for Rare Vascular Plant Species at Two Pilot Areas: Gwynns Falls/Leakin Park, Baltimore City, MD. Baltimore: Natural History Society of Maryland.
Groffman PM, Pouyat RV, Cadenasso ML, Zipperer WC, Szlavecz K, Yesilonis IC, Band LE, Brush GS. 2006. Land use context and natural soil controls on plant community composition and soil nitrogen and carbon dynamics in urban and rural forests. Forest Ecology and Management 236: 177 -- 192.
Holly Beyar, Project Facilitator, Baltimore Ecosystem Study LTER
An old community garden plot in an inner block in west Baltimore. Uncultivated at the time of the photo, annual and short lived perennial colonizing plants are predominant.
BES LTER photo
Detailed summary of plant biodiversity along both a urban to rural and soil fertility gradients at the Baltimore Ecosystem Study LTER. Contrary to the initial expectations, urban ecosystems harbor significant biodiversity of plants and, in some cases, higher numbers of plant species than in rural habitats.
Groffman et al. 2006

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