Conceptualizing social-ecological drivers of change in urban forest patches


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.

Publication Type
Journal Article
Lea R. Johnson
Michelle L. Johnson
Myla F.J. Aronson
Lindsay K. Campbell
Megan E. Carr
Mysha Clarke, Villanova University
Vincent D'Amico, USDA
Lindsay Darling, Morton Arboretum
Tedward Erker, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Robert T. Fahey
Kristen L. King
Katherine Lautar
Stephanie Pincetl, University of California, Los Angeles
Luke Rhodes, Fairmount Park Conservancy
John Paul Schmit, National Park Service
Lydia Scott, Morton Arboretum
Nancy F. Sonti
Urban Ecosystems