Ecological Restoration Drives Functional Composition and Diversity in Urban Forest Patches
Do, Sara Miya
Johnson, Lea R
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Urbanization greatly alters environmental conditions, affecting biodiversity in cities and ecological processes. To restore processes and native biodiversity, land managers have turned to ecological restoration of urban forest patches. Urban forest patches, nested within urban ecosystems, are subject to urban influences during ecological succession. Building on a long-term study evaluating outcomes of ecological restoration in New York City, I examined the effects of urban conditions, restoration, and forest succession on functional composition and diversity of restored and unrestored urban forest patches after 15-20 years. Functional traits play an essential role in community assemblages and influence the resilience and ecosystem functioning of urban ecosystems. I found that restored plots had greater functional evenness. Differences in functional composition indicated direct influence from restoration, succession, urban conditions, and success in meeting restoration goals. These results demonstrate that ecological restoration drives changes in functional composition and diversity of urban forest patches.